With the provincial budget set to be released Wednesday afternoon, the provincial opposition NDP spent much of Monday attacking the financial record of the government under Scott Moe. During a media availability ahead of Question Period, then again on the floor of the Legislature, Leader Carla Beck and Finance Critic Trent Wotherspoon highlighted the provincial debt, and how much it has increased since Moe became premier.  

“In a mere six years, Premier Scott Moe has nearly doubled Saskatchewan’s debt, with provincial debt expected to reach an all-time record latest this week,” said Beck. “Over $14 billion has been added to the books since 2018, bringing Saskatchewan’s total provincial debt to over $31.5 billion.” 

Beck compared the track record of the government under Moe to that of the provincial government when Grant Devine was premier. 

“Many of us of a certain age will remember that Grant Devine nearly bankrupted our province after adding about $9 billion to provincial debt over nine years,” Beck added.  

When the issue was raised during Question Period, Moe noted the provincial economy is strong based on several measurements, including net debt-to-GDP. 

“Where we are in this province, Mr. Speaker, is second lowest in the nation when it comes to our net debt-to-GDP,” Moe explained. “This is what a strong and growing economy is able to bring to the people of Saskatchewan.” 

During the media availability before Question Period, the NDP also raised an issue with the budget for 2023-24. Wotherspoon pointed to what he called a miss when it comes to the books after the budget initially had a $1 billion surplus. 

“At mid-year, it was down to a deficit of a quarter billion dollars, and with last month’s $757 million of unauthorized, unaccountable spending – year-end spending, this is a government that now has us in a billion-dollar fiscal hole.  

While the debt has risen, Finance Minister Donna Harpauer defended the track record of the government. 

“Mr. Speaker, it is easy to defend when you look at the new school across our province,” Harpauer answered. “It’s easy to defend when you look at the new hospitals we’ve built. It’s to defend when you look at the new long-term care homes that we’ve built. It’s easy to defend when you see the highways are actually being repaired now.” 

The opposition also asked about the third-quarter report, after their FOI request was denied for the reason that it would be released within 90 days of the request. Harpauer confirmed in the Legislature the report will be made available when the budget for the 2024-25 fiscal year is released.