The second week of the provincial election campaign saw more promises made and full platforms released.
The Saskatchewan Party made numerous announcements, including:
- Expand the eligibility for individualized autism funding to children under age 12. It currently covers children under age six.
- Expand the Saskatchewan Insulin Pump Program and cover the cost of Continuous Glucose Monitoring systems for children under 18.
- Reduce the cost of ambulance calls for seniors, increase the monthly benefit provided under the Seniors Income Plan, and hire 300 new continuing care aides.
- Improve services for D/deaf and Deafblind Saskatchewan residents.
The Saskatchewan New Democrats’ announcements for the week include:
- Introduce the best home care in Canada and get seniors the care they need by hiring 700 additional home care staff to provide the medical, cleaning, cooking, and repair assistance seniors need to live independently and with dignity.
- A commitment to build a new surgery and outpatient centre in Regina.
- A commitment to a Saskatchewan First procurement policy that will put Saskatchewan workers first and keep jobs in the province.
- Invest more than $10 million to improve access to mental health care for families and create a strategy to combat Saskatchewan’s opioid and crystal meth crisis.
- A commitment to end commercial development in the province’s urban parks and reverse the Sask. Party’s takeover of the Provincial Capital Commission.
- A commitment to immediately invest in healthy and safe northern communities.
- A commitment to raising the minimum wage in Saskatchewan to $15 per hour.
Both the Sask Party and NDP releases their full platforms on the 9th. The Sask Party platform, titled “Our Plan For A Strong Saskatchewan,” lays out a plan for a strong recovery as well as a plan to grow Saskatchewan. The total cost of the Saskatchewan Party platform is $93 million in the current fiscal year, $345.3 million in year 2021-22, $205.3 million in 2022-23, $123.6 million in 2023-24 and $81.6 million in 2024-25. The costs are higher in the first years as some of the measures are temporary to provide an economic stimulus to drive the recovery from the pandemic. The provincial budget will be balanced with a small surplus in 2024-25.
The NDP platform, titled “People First,” lays out a plan that “makes the crucial investments in health care, education and job creation that we need now.” The platform documents are fully costed and have been reviewed by an economist who has signed off on the financial measures. The NDP pledges to spend an additional $2.7 billion, the bulk of it in health care, childcare and education, and will pay for it by borrowing money rather than raising taxes if elected this fall. They have indicated that they would balance the budget early in a second term.
After being questioned again on his past driving incidents that include an impaired driving incident in 1992 and a fatal crash in which he was involved in 1997, Sask Party Leader Scott Moe revealed he once faced another impaired driving charge. In 1994, when he was 20 years old, he was charged with impaired driving and leaving the scene of an accident. Moe said the charges ended up being dropped because he was not impaired, and he did in fact stay on the scene.
Another story this week stemmed from an anonymous website and twitter account pushing rumours about an internal Saskatchewan Party push to drop Scott Moe as leader. In a formal statement issued on Thursday, Saskatchewan Party communications director Jim Billington confirmed that the party has “full confidence” in its leader, Scott Moe.
A new poll released on Sunday from a Vancouver-based polling firm shows the Sask Party with a strong lead among decided voters. Of the 447 decided voters polled online Thursday through Saturday, 259 (58%) said they would vote for Sask. Party leader Scott Moe, while 160 (36%) people said they would vote for New Democrat leader Ryan Meili. The online survey also showed the race is currently tight in Regina, where the Saskatchewan Party and the NDP are virtually tied among decided voters (49% and 47% respectively). The Sask Party is ahead in Saskatoon (54% to 41%) and in the rest of the province (65% to 25%).
CAMPAIGNING DURING A PANDEMIC
As cases of COVID-19 slowly continue to rise in Saskatchewan, Scott Moe and his tour team are self-monitoring for 14 days after a campaign announcement in Prince Albert on October 3. The business owner has confirmed that no attendees or participants in the announcement had contact with the individual that was the source of the potential exposure alert, nor were they in the same area of the individual. In accordance with the public health guidelines issued by the Saskatchewan Health Authority, individuals at COVID-19 exposure locations do not need to isolate if they are not experiencing symptoms.
WHAT TO EXPECT THIS WEEK
A reminder that the 2020 provincial election leaders’ debate will be held on Wednesday, October 14 from 6:05-7:00 p.m. The debate will be between Sask Party Leader Scott Moe and NDP Leader Ryan Meili and will be televised by a media consortium that includes CBC, CTV, Global and Postmedia.