Opposition says too many political ties on new Sask. health board

Opposition politicians are accusing the Saskatchewan government of stacking the board of the new health authority with partisan supporters.

6 of 10 board members are also Sask. Party donors

Health Minister Jim Reiter announced the board members of the province's single health authority on Wednesday . (Tyler Pidlubny/CBC)

Opposition politicians say there is far too much partisanship on the new board that will govern Saskatchewan's health system.

Health Minister Jim Reiter appointed 10 people to the board of the new Saskatchewan Health Authority this week, including a former chief of staff to a cabinet minister and a campaign manager for another.

Six of the 10 donated money to the Saskatchewan Party.

"We think that there's lots of people in the province that support the Saskatchewan Party, but I would just point to the backgrounds of the people that we've appointed," Reiter said.

"I think each one stands on their own merit."

The government said the five men and five women on the board come from a diverse range of backgrounds, including medicine, accounting, law and business.

It says half of the new board members have experience on health boards to lend and half do not, to provide fresh perspective.

The new health authority is expected to launch this fall, at which point the province's 12 regional health boards will dissolve and be replaced by the single board.

Opposition concerned

The leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Saskatchewan, Rick Swenson, said the board members may be good people, but they are too closely aligned with the governing party.

"Basically, people that have been recycled through all sorts of Sask. Party board appointments, most of them donors," he said.

"I don't see that as a fresh and new approach to solving the health issues that face Saskatchewan."

Swenson said he doubts board members would speak out or resign in protest over a questionable government decision on health care. 

Questionable social media posts

The Opposition NDP is also concerned about the partisan ties between board members and the government. 

"People who are deeply connected to the Sask. Party will have a hard time speaking up against any of the directions that the Sask. Party or the government want to see this board take in terms of health care," said Nicole Sarauer, an NDP MLA.

She is also unimpressed by social media posts by one of the board members.

Don Rae says he regrets sharing this post on his Facebook page. (Facebook)

Don Rae shared a post on Facebook which says Liberals want to co-parent Canadian children and introduce them to "anal sex and made up genders."

A spokesperson for the government said that post is not reflective of its views.

The government also shared a written statement from Rae, who said he shared the post because he thought children were being taught too much information at an early age.

"However, after recognizing that there were other aspects of the article that are offensive and do not reflect my views, I took it down," the statement said.


Stefani Langenegger has been with CBC Saskatchewan for more than two decades. She covered provincial politics for more than 15 years, before joining The Morning Edition as host.