New “special warrant” from SK gov draws ire of opposition NDP

Another call from the Saskatchewan NDP today to re-open the Legislature.

NDP Finance Critic Trent Wotherspoon says the government has written itself another blank cheque in the form of a $56-million special warrant that was approved by Order in Council last week. It indicates that the money will be spent on “Miscellaneous Payments–Unforeseen and Unprovided For”.

Wotherspoon claims that warrant provides no clarity when it comes to how the money will be spent and whether or not it is new COVID-19 spending. While acknowledging, the spending is needed and legitimate, it is a question he says the people of Saskatchewan deserve to know with those answers being provided in the Legislative Assembly with enough time for proper scrutiny and debate.

The NDP have been calling for a return to the legislature for a few weeks now with both House Leaders supposedly formulating some kind of plan.

In response, the government says the special warrant  is for the Temporary Wage Supplement announced on April 30th. The program is cost-shared with the federal government.

The provincial government administers the Temporary Wage Supplement and pays the supplement directly to eligible workers. The current supplement cost is currently estimated at $56M and the province will receive a federal reimbursement estimated at $53.2M.

An estimated 35,000 lower-income essential workers are eligible for the $400 dollars a month supplement.  They are those working currently in places like senior-care homes, group homes, childcare facilities, and emergency and transition shelters.

In regards to legislative scrutiny of the provincial budget, the  government says it agrees the budget deserves to be scrutinized, debated and passed. To this end, productive discussions between the government and opposition house leaders are ongoing.

More from 620 CKRM