Saskatchewan’s Opposition NDP is calling on Premier Scott Moe’s government to follow Alberta’s example.
On Tuesday evening, Alberta Premier Danielle Smith announced that families there that earn below $180,000 per year will get $600 for each child and senior citizen.
The Alberta government also plans to suspend all of the provincial fuel tax for at least the next six months, and provide breaks on electricity and on natural gas.
The measures are part of the province’s plan to deal with rising costs.
“It sure sounds a lot like what we’ve been calling for for months. Because these solutions, Mr. Speaker, aren’t partisan. They’re common sense,” said Opposition Leader Carla Beck during question period at the Saskatchewan Legislature on Wednesday.
The premier responded by saying the Saskatchewan government has taken its own action on affordability, giving $500 to every adult that has filed a recent tax return in Saskatchewan.
“[We’re providing] $450 million to Saskatchewan families, Mr. Speaker, to provide them with some affordability relief in these very challenging inflationary times,” Moe said.
However, Saskatchewan is not providing money for children. Furthermore, many people have yet to receive their $500 cheques.
“That premier simply has no credibility on affordability. He promised those cheques in August [and] that they’d be out by fall, and by his own admission … hundreds of thousands of those cheques will likely not be delivered until December,” Beck said.
“It’s yet another sign of an out of touch government when we’re nearly nine months into an affordability crisis and most adults in this province have yet to see a dime of relief.”
Moe said the affordability cheques hitting mailboxes are doing their job and that he still expects them to be distributed by the end of November. Moe says 450,000 of the province’s 825,000 cheques have already been sent out and the remaining 375,000 will soon be on the way.
“We’re confident in the plan that we have put forward and we’re very focused on ensuring that those affordability measures are getting out to our small businesses, getting out to our families as as quickly as possible,” Moe told reporters Wednesday afternoon.
Beck said that while there are economic differences between Saskatchewan and Alberta, the former has the funds to help residents more than it is.
“You have a government that brags about how great things are, but on the other hand gives excuses as to why they cannot provide relief to Saskatchewan people, seniors and children in the midst of an affordability crisis,” Beck said.
Moe maintained that his government’s affordability strategy is strong.
“What we did in [choosing to] send out tax affordability checks was quite simply this: they would get to more people than just the folks that drove,” he said. “It was the the fairest way that we could see as well as the quickest way that we could see to get those affordability dollars out to as many families as we could across the province.”