🗳️ Into the bear pit

Cabinet faces the bear pit, government defends hotel policy as NDP alleges wrongdoing, and more federal budget feedback

April 18, 2024 | Advertise with us

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Good morning, and happy birthday to comedic genius Conan O’Brien. It’s Cone Daddy’s 61st birthday, and to celebrate we hope you watch his legenday Dudez A-Plenti sketch from 2000.

Here’s The SKoop for Thursday, April 18:

  • Provincial cabinet ministers face questions in bear pit session at SUMA,

  • Government defends hotel procurement as NDP allege wrongdoing, and

  • The Premier responds to the federal budget.

Today’s Top Stories

Premier and Cabinet face municipal leaders in ‘bear pit’ session

SUMA Delegates were able to ask questions of the Cabinet.

Delegates at the SUMA convention wrapped up their annual gathering with everybody’s favourite thing: a bear pit session with the Premier and provincial cabinet ministers. This is the last time these municipal leaders will be able to interact in this forum before the next provincial election.

Councillors and representatives from Lumsden, Regina, Humboldt, Grand Coulee, Prince Albert, Coronach, and other urban municipalities took to their feet to raise concerns from their local communities and ask members of the cabinet directly. Questions raised ranged from increased addiction support in rural areas to libraries, to what the government’s plan is for coal mines until 2030.

One delegate asked if Premier Scott Moe would apologize to the unvaccinated in the province. Moe replied, saying he tried to find a balance during the pandemic, as ICU beds were full. The decisions were made because of the strains on the health system, and not many had a lot of answers then. He says we hope to not face that situation again.

The bear pit session can be viewed in its entirety here. The SUMA convention is now concluded until next year.

🏞 There’s infrastructure we like, such as parks, recreation facilities, pools, and more.

🏥 There’s infrastructure we need, such as hospitals, care homes, clinics and schools.

🛣 Then there’s the infrastructure that helps pay for it all, including roads, rail, air, and trade corridor access.

We can’t forget just how important that last piece is to all the others.

Learn more about the great work the Saskatchewan Heavy Construction Association and its members are doing at saskheavy.ca.

Government defends supporting client needs as NDP alleges wrongdoing in hotel procurement

Opposition NDP critic Meara Conway.

Opposition NDP MLA Meara Conway has focused her time in question period recently asking Gene Makowsky, the Minister of Social Services, about hotel procurement. She alleges that Sask. Party MLA for Regina Northeast Gary Grewal is benefiting from government contracts with hotels to service social services clients.

In a media statement released Tuesday, Conway attached figures received from the committee and said, “It’s there in black and white. This looks to be a clear example of corruption. The Sask. Party has tried to hide and cover up this scandal for months. This is worse than anything we could have ever imagined. It’s time for Minister Makowsky to come clean on what he knew and when.”

The government is defending their decision. Jeff Redekopp is the executive director of income assistance service delivery at the Ministry of Social Services and he categorically denied the allegations. “Frontline staff are looking for what options are available for clients who are in need. The ministry has generally no knowledge of who owns the hotel and has never been instructed by government to use a certain hotel. It’s about the needs of the client.”

A pilot project is underway to examine how the ministry procures hotels. MLA Gary Grewal is not running for re-election.

Moe comments on federal budget

Premier Scott Moe was unsurprisingly not shy about commenting and criticizing Tuesday’s federal budget.

Moe said the near $40 billion deficit is “more than we are willing to bear.” On the topic of the carbon tax, Moe pointed out the increase and said it was a “swing and a miss.” The Premier suggested that the funds dedicated to housing be instead reallocated in municipal infrastructure funding, saying “A house being built without water or sewer services is not that valuable to a municipality.”

Since the budget’s release on Tuesday there have also been a number of stories and discussion on the changes made to capital gains taxation. Canada’s tech industry has been critical of the changes, and the Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce also expressed concern on the new policy.

2024 Election Candidate Tracker

  • Premier Scott Moe - Rosthern Shellbrook

  • Lisa Lambert - Saskatoon Churchill-Wildwood

  • Muhammad Fiaz - Regina Pasqua

  • Jeremy Harrison - Meadow Lake

  • Lori Carr - Estevan-Big Muddy

  • Eric Schmalz - Saskatchewan Rivers

  • David Buckingham - Saskatoon Westview

  • Bronwyn Eyre - Saskatoon Stonebridge

  • Steven Bonk - Moosomin-Montmartre

  • Jeremy Cockrill - The Battlefords

  • Ken Cheveldayoff - Saskatoon Willowgrove

  • Gene Makowsky - Regina University

  • Alana Ross - Prince Albert Northcote

  • Christine Tell - Regina Wascana Plains

  • Hugh Nerlien - Kelvington-Wadena

  • Marv Friesen - Saskatoon Riversdale

  • David Marit - Wood River

  • Doug Steele - Cypress Hills

  • Terry Jenson - Warman

  • Daryl Harrison - Cannington

  • Travis Keisig - Last Mountain Touchwood

  • Everett Hindley - Swift Current

  • Todd Goudy - Melfort

  • Sean Wilson - Canora-Pelly

  • Warren Kaeding - Melville-Saltcoats

  • Tim McLeod - Moose Jaw North

  • Paul Merriman - Saskatoon Silverspring

  • Terri Bromm - Carrot River Valley

  • Joe Hargrave - Prince Albert Carlton

  • Colleen Young - Lloydminster

  • Jim Reiter - Rosetown-Delisle

  • Jim Lemaigre - Athabasca

  • Kim Gartner - Kindsersley-Biggar

  • Khushdil "Lucky" Mehrok - Regina South Albert

  • Blaine McLeod - Lumsden-Morse

  • Megan Patterson - Moose Jaw Wakamow

  • Darlene Rowden - Batoche

  • Laura Ross - Regina Rochdale

  • David Chan - Yorkton

  • James Thorsteinson - Cut Knife-Turtleford

  • Rahul Singh - Regina Northeast

  • Riaz Ahmad - Regina Coronation Park

  • Ghislaine McLeod - Saskatoon University-Sutherland

  • Jamie Martens - Martensville-Blairmore

  • Maureen Alice Torr - Saskatoon Meewasin

  • Barret Kropf - Dakota-Arm River

  • John Owojori - Saskatoon Southeast

  • Nicole Rancourt - Prince Albert Northcote

  • Joan Pratchler - Regina Rochdale

  • Betty Nippi-Albright - Saskatoon Centre

  • Aleana Young (Regina South Albert)

  • Trent Wotherspoon (Regina Mount Royal)

  • Nicole Sarauer (Regina Douglas Park)

  • Meara Conway (Regina Elphinstone Centre)

  • Matt Love (Saskatoon Eastview)

  • Nathaniel Teed (Saskatoon Meewasin)

  • Erika Ritchie (Saskatoon Nutana)

  • Vicki Mowat (Saskatoon Fairview)

  • Jordan McPhail - Cumberland

  • Melissa Patterson - Moose Jaw Wakamow

  • Bhajan Brar - Regina Pasqua

  • Tammy Pike - Martensville-Blairmore

  • Darcy Warrington - Saskatoon Stonebridge

  • Tajinder Grewal - Saskatoon University-Sutherland

  • Carolyn Brost-Strom - Prince Albert Carlton

  • Noor Burki - Regina Coronation Park

  • Jared Clarke - Regina Walsh Acres

  • Jacqueline Roy - Regina Northeast

  • Brenda Edel - Rosetown-Delisle

  • Tom Kroczynski - The Battlefords

  • Don McBean - Saskatoon Chief Mistiwasis

  • Grady Birns - White City-Qu'Appelle

  • Lenore Pinder - Yorkton

  • Lorne Schroeder - Kelvington-Wadena

  • Thera Nordal - Last Mountain-Touchwood

  • Cheantelle Fisher, Moose Jaw North

  • Kim Breckner, Saskatoon Riversdale

  • Alana Wakula, Saskatoon Willowgrove

  • Trina Miller - Batoche

  • Sally Housser - Regina University

  • Wynn Fedorchuk - Canora-Pelly

  • Mike Tapola - Wood River