By Megan Roth
NDP candidate for the Cypress Hills-Grasslands constituency, Barb Genert, believes there are definite problems in the Saskatchewan government, most of which come down to mismanagement of money.
A large area of concern for Genert, and the NDP party as a whole, is the health care system in Saskatchewan and the implemented “lean” program.
“We as Canadians cherish our health care and we are seeing it being depleted,” she said.
Genert herself has spoken with people directly involved with the health care programs in Saskatchewan. That being nurses, doctors and other “front line workers”. During her conversations with the front line workers she found they do not find the new lean system to be working.
“This is a provincial problem, not a regional one,” said Genert.
Genert herself has seen the crumbling health care system herself, she said.
She worked as a staff scheduler at a hospital in Regina for a while. During her time as a scheduler she saw first hand the cut backs taking place in the hospitals.
“I saw the cut backs to the hospital and in health care year after year,” she said.
It has been said the best way to fix the foreseen problems in health care and education is to talk them through, Genert disagrees.
The best way to fix the problems, whether in health care, education or even highways, is to take action, according to Genert.
“Talk doesn’t fix anything, action fixes problems,” she said.
During the campaign office’s grand opening in Maple Creek on March 17, Genert discussed the problem with the current health care system with some guests who came to the event.
She sited the Moose Jaw Hospital, a brand new hospital designed specifically for the lean system. She discussed how this new hospital, which cost a lot of money to build, is non-functional with a tiny emergency waiting room and a small staff unable to keep it clean.
Health care isn’t the only focus for Genert and the NDP. Cut backs to education are another large sticking point.
According to Genert, the cut backs to education have made it so there are less teachers and teaching assistants in the classrooms.
“There is more than enough money available to have a good health care system and cover education along with everything else,” said Genert.
Under an NDP government class sizes will be limited as well as bring back more teachers and teachers aides to the schools, said Genert.
“I want to help make a better Saskatchewan for all of Saskatchewan, not just a chosen few,” she said.
When it comes to the promised privatization of liquor stores throughout the province if the Sask. Party is re-elected into power, Genert says it is not a good idea.
She does not see a reason for closing or selling Crown-owned liquor stores as they are working.
“I honestly believe it is the first step in eliminating small town Saskatchewan,”said Genert.
Premier Brad Wall has refused a public discussion with the other party leaders to discuss the prospect of the privatization of the liquor store before the election. Genert believes this is very telling for what he has planned if reelected.
“I think he is fearful because he doesn’t have any plan other than cut backs,” she said.
No matter the outcome of the April 4 election Genert hopes to continue working with the NDP. If Cam Broten, leader of the NDP Party, is elected as the Premier of Saskatchewan she hopes to be able to work with whoever he elects as the Minister of Health.
“I hope the people recognize the need for a change, whatever the outcome of the election may be,” she said.