Premier suggests more support for long-term care in next budget, reiterates no balance by 2024

Premier Scott Moe spoke on Wednesday at the virtual Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities conference about the upcoming provincial budget, saying it will be a budget that “protects, builds and grows” the province.

While he did signal further support for long-term care and other crucial health care investments in 2021-2022, he reminded delegates that the province will not see a balanced budget based on its four-year projection set to be released on budget day.

“It won’t be in that four-year projection given the variability we see in the revenue numbers, but Saskatchewan people can rest assured that the services that they expect to be provided in the way of health care, education and assisting our communities’ most vulnerable will be in this budget,” said Premier Moe on Wednesday.

Moe said there are many variabilities that need to be considered for a budget being released during a global pandemic. The premier suggested these projections will be longer than many other, if not all, provinces when they provide their respective budgets in the spring.

“There are investments that are necessary, and we are making those investments on behalf of the people that we represent. But there are a number of variables we will clarify as best as we can,” he added.

“What myself and the minister of finance have said is that revenue projections will be variable for the next while as the global economy revs its engine and starts to recover.”

The budget will be introduced on April 6 when the spring session gets underway.

NDP wants answers on budget not being balanced

Opposition leader Ryan Meili criticized the premier’s comments by saying he is lying about his campaign promise from the fall to balance the provincial budget by 2024.

The NDP leader said in a statement on Wednesday that Moe refuses to give any concrete examples of what has changed between now and the last election.

“Scott Moe’s continued refusal to own his own words is incredibly disrespectful to the people of Saskatchewan,” said Meili in the statement. “The fact is, a balanced budget by 2024 was a central Sask. Party campaign pledge that the premier repeated over and over. And the fact that he’s now breaking that promise with no reasonable explanation is only further proof he can’t be trusted with what matters most to Saskatchewan people.”

“Scott Moe owes the people of this province an apology.”

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