Opposition says billion-dollar Saskatchewan deficit can be blamed on government

REGINA – The Saskatchewan economy has dominated debate in the Saskatchewan legislature for a second day.

Opposition critic Warren McCall said Wednesday the billion-dollar deficit is due to mismanagement by the Saskatchewan Party government.

He said the government has no plans to get finances back on track, noting the government of Premier Brad Wall is cutting education spending and job training at a time when there are 11,000 more people looking for work.

Economy Minister Jeremy Harrison countered that adult basic education has jumped 53 per cent and apprenticeship training funding has risen 76 per cent since 2007.

Wall said lower commodity prices have taken a toll but he opposes NDP-style tax hikes and program cuts.

Wall defended his record, saying tax cuts have reached $6 billion and there has been a $9 billion hike in infrastructure funding.

Wall said the province has added 150,000 more people since 2007 and the province has the second best job creation record in Canada.

The fiscal update released Tuesday by Finance Minister Kevin Doherty showed the deficit is far higher than the $434 million the government projected when it introduced the budget in June.