REGINA – With Saskatchewan’s slowing economy Premier Brad Wall, who’s now seeking re-election, has been vocal in requesting help from Ottawa.
After looking over the federal budget with finance minister Kevin Doherty, Wall is describing the budget as disappointing.
“We were looking for some special recognition for Saskatchewan… there does not seem to be that special recognition,” Wall said.
Leading up to the budget Wall requested for a return of $570 million in transfer payments to ‘have not’ provinces, and wanted to use federal money to put oil workers back to work by cleaning abandoned oil wells.
The budget included none of that, but there is some help for Saskatchewan.
“The one change that was made I think extensively to help workers who’ve lost their job and maybe the point of their initiative was to help energy workers was to provide an extension of benefits for five weeks for those who are going employment insurance benefits,” Wall added.
However, he complained the extension of EI benefits will only affect parts of the province like Northern Saskatchewan and leave other parts empty handed.
“The rest of our oil patch is in the south east and south west and it’s excluded,” Wall said.
Those not excluded were cities, including Regina.
“I’m very pleased, this is a very solid budget for municipalities,” Mayor Michael Fougere said.
After travelling to Ottawa for the Big City Mayors’ Caucus in February, Fougere was hoping Regina would see $35 million for infrastructure spending.
“The budget says that we’re going to get that. So, yes we’re very pleased with that,” Fougere said.
The Mayor says the city’s top priority for the money is to build the transit maintenance facility.
However, for Wall one positive in the budget was the increased funding for First Nations.