SASKATOON – The Saskatchewan New Democratic Party (NDP) will make deep cuts in consultant fees and contractor costs in order to re-direct more than $100 million to other expenditures if elected, according to a platform plan laid out Thursday in Saskatoon.
In remarks to a crowd of supporters, NDP Leader Cam Broten called his party’s platform “a plan that won’t change what is working, but will fix what is wrong.”
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“I will choose the services that we count on over the entitlements and the wasteful spending that we have seen the Sask Party choose,” said Broten to reporters after the campaign announcement.
Broten plans to cut $178 million in first year
The NDP platform plan promises roughly $178 million in cuts during their first year of government and would re-allocate $122 million to other areas of spending. The figure includes roughly $59 million in consultant fees and $26 million in contractor spending that would be slashed.
The plan also calls for reducing the number of staffers for the premier by 15 per cent and the number of cabinet ministers by three.
Deep cuts would also be made by reducing health administration spending and ending the government’s Lean program.
Spending laid out over four years
With the money the NDP claims they will save from their cuts, Broten outlined a number of areas that would receive additional funds.
The plan calls for hiring 300 more teachers and educational assistants over four years. Roughly $106 million would also go towards hiring front-line health care staff.
A Saskatchewan party official says “at first glance many promises are not costed … Saskatchewan taxpayers can’t afford the NDP irresponsible spending promises.”
“These are fully costed and based on the best predictions in terms of what will happen with the economy that auditors and have looked at and approved in terms of projections,” said Broten.
The NDP says their plan will put the province in a $189.4 million deficit during their first year, before shifting to a $32.6 million surplus in year two.