REGINA – The final jabs of question period brought to a close a legislative session full of ups and downs.
From a budget that featured more transparent reporting methods, to a firestorm over inappropriate travel spending – Premier Brad Wall believes the government has responded to those challenges.
“The issue around travel was raised and now we have a better system to report,” Wall said. “Should it have been implemented earlier, by the previous government (or) by our government? Yes. But we have it now.”
The session was dominated by criticisms of Lean, the government’s method for more efficient health care delivery. Many outside the walls of the legislature may not understand the $40-million being spent on consultants, but Opposition NDP leader Cam Broten insists the frustration is widespread.
Broten is also disappointed the Sask. Party won’t commit to minimum standards for seniors in care.
“It happens with the families saying, ‘Why on earth do I have to hire a private care provider to go into the hospital to make sure my grandma has the care she needs?’ ” said Broten.
Observers like Ken Rasmussen of the Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy point to recent polling numbers, which show voter intentions remain similar to the election of 2011.
With a full year of leadership under his belt, Cam Broten’s spring session may have helped him move the needle – but, not a lot.
“There’s very little the NDP can do to whittle away at the popularity of the premier,” Rasmussen said. “The premier will have to do that himself, either through mistakes or through some kind of budget crisis.”
Wall may now turn his attention to a cabinet shuffle, expected this summer after a trio of ministers said they won’t run in the election scheduled for 2016.
The Opposition hasn’t opened its nominations for that vote just yet – with the process slated to begin after the NDP spring convention at the end of May.