Donna Harpauer says 14 election promises kept in Saskatchewan’s 2021 budget

Saskatchewan Finance Minister Donna Harpauer said 300 continuing care aides are being hired, but NDP Leader Ryan Meili questions the commitment. File / Global News

Saskatchewan Finance Minister Donna Harpauer said the 2021-22 budget fulfils a number of promises made during the 2020 election campaign.

“In the election campaign last fall, we made 14 specific campaign commitments to make life more affordable for Saskatchewan people,” Harpauer said.

“This budget fulfils all 14 of these commitments. We did what we said we would do.”

Read more: Saskatchewan projects 4 more years of deficits in 2021-22 budget

One promise Harpauer said is being met is hiring 300 continuing care aides to help long-term care clients with personal care, meals and medications.

“It’s the first year of our three-year, $18.4-million campaign commitment to hire 300 continuing care aides to work in long-term care and in existing and expanded home-care services in rural and remote areas,” Harpauer said.

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NDP Leader Ryan Meili said the budget only contains funding for 100 continuing care aides and said the Saskatchewan Party made no mention during the election campaign that the positions would be phased in over three years.

“Now we see the government lied to families in the last election about their plans to increase staffing in our hard-hit long-term care facilities,” Meili said.

“The truth is, when it comes to what matters most to Saskatchewan families, Scott Moe simply can’t be trusted.”

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Other promises Harpauer said are being kept are funding for autism services and insulin pumps.

Harpauer said $6 million is budgeted to expand the autism spectrum disorder program to children between the ages of six and 11.

She also said funding for the Saskatchewan insulin pump program will increase by $5 million to cover the cost of a pump for everyone in the province who needs one.

Ambulance fees for seniors are being reduced from $275 to $135 per trip, a cost of $6.7 million. During the election campaign, Premier Scott Moe said it was one of three ways his government would make life more affordable for seniors in the province.

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Another promise was to increase funding for Saskatchewan’s seniors income plan. Harpauer increased funding for the program by $3.5 million, with maximum payments going up $30 a month as of July 1.

Funding for a number of other election promises made that are included in the budget, such as Saskatchewan home renovation tax credit, reducing SaskPower bills by 10 per cent for one year and an SGI rebate, have previously been announced.

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