The spring session of 2012 had some sore points for the provincial NDP, and interim leader John Nilson who recently spoke about the areas where he feels the government has done poorly.
In general, Nilson feels as though the moves made in the recent session show a government more interested in itself than in the people of the province. He says that measures such as an increased number of MLAs and increases in spending are negative developments, and that for the public this represents an austerity budget in a time of prosperity.
Some areas of contention for the NDP were focused in the elimination of the film tax credit, sweeping changes to labor laws, increases to the seniors drug plan and the increased number of MLAs. Nilson says he believes the government thought it could get away with more than usual due to the increased majority, and that his party worked to make as much noise as they could with their numbers.
“I think we’ve shown them that if we ask common-sense practical Saskatchewan questions they can’t run and they can’t hide.”
Nilson believes the elimination of the film tax credit will come back to haunt the government, and he says it’s something that has become clear is a directive from Premier Brad Wall.
“It’s clear that it’s the Premier that doesn’t understand how a small amount of money which is seed money can generate all kinds of jobs and projects across the province. He has thrown up all kinds of smoke screens about this, but it’s clear that when he’s asked specifically about this he doesn’t answer.”
One area where the NDP has put a lot of support locally is in the Jimmy’s Law bill, to protect late night workers. Nilson says that he believes the government will push it off into a “bigger, broader attack on working people.” He says it’s not clear what the direction for that will be.
He says the session was a successful one for the small NDP contingent in the legislature, and that they worked hard to make their opposition to decisions they disagreed with known.
“We didn’t let bad decisions like more money for politicians pass in silence, and the net effect was that people rallied around us... Citizens got very engaged, and continued to be very engaged, and I would say enraged as well.”
The NDP’s goal for the summer will involve meeting with people and find out their concerns are, and discover people’s vision for the province.
There are many people who are being left out of the prosperity in the province, and many of them don’t have a strong voice, and our job is to make sure we listen to them and give them a voice,” Nilson concludes.