NDP calls out Sask. Party for issuing $56 million special warrant, province responds

The NDP criticized the Sask. Party on Monday for issuing what they called a “blank cheque” special warrant of $56 million, and continued their call to resume legislative business to table a full budget.

The special warrant, which was approved and ordered on May 20, is categorized as “miscellaneous payments unforeseen and provided for” by the province.

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NDP finance critic Trent Wotherspoon said the warrant is the Sask. Party writing blank cheques behind closed doors.

“Meanwhile, Saskatchewan people wait in vain for the government to present a comprehensive plan to guide the recovery from COVID-19,” said Wotherspoon.

Wotherspoon said people deserve answers when it comes to provincial spending.

“People deserve answers to these questions, and those answers should be provided in the Legislative Assembly with enough time for proper scrutiny and debate. This is what we’ve been calling for, and we await details of the government’s plan to reopen the Legislature.”

The province responded to the NDP’s criticism of the warrant, saying the $56 million is for the Temporary Wage Supplement announced on April 30. The province added the program is cost-shared with the provincial government.

In a statement released by the province, they said the provincial government administers the Temporary Wage Supplement and pays the supplement directly to eligible workers. The current supplement cost is currently estimated at $56 million and the province will receive a federal reimbursement estimated at $53.2 million.

The Temporary Wage Subsidy was put in place to help employees making less than $2,00 a month while working in a field with vulnerable people. The program pays workers $400 a month for 16 weeks, from March 15 to July 4.

The statement released by the province said they agree with the notion of presenting a full budget that has time to be debated, scrutinized and passed.

“To this end, productive discussions between the government and opposition house leaders are ongoing.”

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