The Saskatchewan NDP released its full election platform on Friday. It comes with a price tag of $2.7 billion over four years, with a financial focus on increasing school, health-care and long-term care staffing and supports.
"We know that across Saskatchewan, communities are pulling together to fight COVID-19, but Scott Moe has chosen a path that will make life tougher for families. It doesn't have to be that way," Sask. NDP Leader Ryan Meili said at an event Friday.
The NDP platform commits to $2.1 billion in new spending over four years. The net cost of the NDP platform is $2.74 billion over the next four years.
Before Meili's announcement, the Saskatchewan Party sent a news release criticizing the spending proposals and the fact that the NDP has not said when it will balance the budget.
The Sask. Party has committed to a balanced budget by 2024-25. The current deficit estimate is $2.1 billion.
"The Sask. Party is going to tell us we can't afford to invest in the people of Saskatchewan. What are they really saying? They are saying we can't afford the things that matter most. That we can't afford health care, child care or to invest in our education. They are wrong," Meili said.
1,000 more teachers by 2025
The NDP's biggest new spending promise is a commitment to reducing class sizes by hiring more than 1,000 teachers, 700 educational assistants and 400 caretakers.
To cover the cost, the NDP would spend $20 million for the remainder of this fiscal year. That would go up to $125 million next year, capping at $132.7 million in 2024-25
Previously the NDP announced its plan to subsidize child care at $25 a day and to increase child-care spaces by 50 per cent. It projects this to cost $32.1 million next year and increase to $68.9 million in 2024-25.
The NDP's education promise also includes hiring 50 mental health and addictions nurses, and other mental health supports for students.
100 more doctors in four years
The party's other major spending commitment was to hire 100 doctors, 150 registered nurses, 300 licensed practical nurses and 500 continuing care assistants.
The NDP would spend $20 million on this for the remainder of this fiscal year and that would go up to $100 million next year, capping at $106 million in 2024-25.
Meili said the NDP would spend $50 million in its first year on home care for seniors.
The party is also pledging $7.8 million next year to establish mental health emergency rooms in Regina, Saskatoon and Prince Albert.
Reversing cuts to film tax, STC and removing PST on construction
The NDP is promising to claw back some recent cuts by the Saskatchewan Party, including removing the PST on construction labour at a cost of $200 million per year through to 2024-25.
$15 minimum wage, 'Sask-first' procurement
On the workforce front, the NDP has already announced plans to move the minimum wage from $11.45 per hour to $15 an hour.
Meili said the party would also "fix" procurement policies in what he refers to as a "Sask-first" system that would ensure Saskatchewan workers and companies are used for government projects.
He previously announced plans for a one per cent wealth tax on Saskatchewan residents with a net income of more than $15 million. The NDP estimates that would generate $120 million in revenue per year.
On the legislative side, the NDP has pledged to reform political donation and lobbying rules, including a cap on individual donations to parties, and the elimination of corporate and union donations.
The entire Saskatchewan NDP platform can be found on its website.