REGINA – We aren’t officially in the 2016 provincial election campaign yet, but it sure felt like it on Tuesday.
In Regina, NDP leader Cam Broten unveiled his party’s first concrete platform promise, cutting consultant spending by $59 million annually.
Since the Saskatchewan Party formed the government in 2007, spending on private consultants grew from $32 million per year to $129 million.
Opposition NDP accuse government of violating balanced budget law
Wall says not much room for province to make cuts
“There’s a lot of fat there that absolutely needs to be eliminated and cut. It’s not defendable to have a 300 per cent increase in spending since,” Broten proclaimed.
“When he’s eliminating those consultants he will be eliminating projects,” Wall countered while in Weyburn.
“I think they need to do a little more homework on this.”
Wall admitted spending has increased, but said consultants are essential on big projects like hospitals and highways.
While in Weyburn, Wall maintained it’s not a campaign stop and just a visit to the city. The campaign will officially begin soon though. The legislative assembly will be dissolved sometime between March 1 and 8 when the writ is dropped.
During his stop in The Opportunity City, Wall toured Souris Valley Industries, a concrete manufacturing plant, and talked with oilfield professionals.
He also met with Weyburn’s Mayor Debra Button and city council. They discussed infrastructure spending, the proposed $156 million federal stimulus package to clean up abandoned oil wells and resource revenue sharing.
All of it falling under an over-arching theme of how the resource heavy city is handling the slump in oil prices.
“We’re faring ok here, obviously I don’t want to minimize the impact it’s having on individual people, and we’d like to see those jobs for the orphan well come back and we’d like to see people getting back to work,” Button explained.
She added that businesses like hotels and restaurants are seeing a downturn too, but has heard they usually see a slowdown in February and January.
“They’ve been faring, but for how much longer…. we’ll see about that. I don’t have that crystal ball,” Button said.