Saskatchewan

Saskatchewan leaders' debate tonight to focus on economy, health and environment

Tonight, the two leaders who have spent the past three years facing off across Saskatchewan's legislative assembly will once again debate the province's big issues — this time, answering questions submitted largely by the public.

Cam Broten and Brad Wall will answer questions from panel of journalists and the public

NDP leader Cam Broten and Saskatchewan Party leader Brad Wall are set to debate tonight, ahead of the April 4 provincial election. (The Canadian Press)

Tonight, the two leaders who have spent the past three years facing off across Saskatchewan's legislative assembly will once again debate the province's big issues — this time, answering questions submitted largely by the public.

Saskatchewan Party leader Brad Wall and NDP leader Cam Broten have been given general topic areas, from the economy, health care and the environment to First Nations, public spending and government accountability. The debate will run from 6:05 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. CST.

The specific questions for the leaders have been chosen from among the suggestions pouring in to the newsrooms of the broadcast partnership pool, which includes CBC as well as CTV and Global.

The two leaders will face questions from a panel of reporters, including CBC's Stefani Langenegger.

You can follow the debate on television, radio or online.

  • Live on CBC Television (check your TV service provider for channel).
  • Live on CBC Radio One (540 AM; 102.5 FM-Regina; 94.1 FM-Saskatoon)
  • Live-streaming online at CBC's Saskatchewan and Saskatoon websites.

Economy

The economy tops the list of voters' concerns in this election campaign. 
A pump jack pulls crude oil from the Bakken region in Montana. U.S. shale oil is contributing to a worldwide glut that has driven oil prices down. (Matthew Brown/Associated Press)

The effect of low oil prices on Saskatchewan's economy continues to ripple through the province in terms of job losses, consumer spending and of course, revenues to the government itself.

The Saskatchewan Party's message to voters is that it has the track record to "keep Saskatchewan strong" whereas the NDP platform's number one priority is to cut "Sask. Party waste". Both parties say they would have to run a deficit if they are elected.

Health

Health care is identified as the second-most important issue to Saskatchewan voters in general and the number one concern for women. 
When it comes to the quality of services provided to the elderly in Saskatchewan's long-term care homes, 60 per cent believe these services are in some way inadequate according to Vote Compass. (iStock)

When it comes to the quality of services provided to the elderly in long-term care homes, 60 per cent believe these services are in some way inadequate, while 25 per cent say they're satisfied with the current quality.

A different health care question was more polarizing. The question asked whether people should be able to pay for faster access to medical treatment.

A majority of people in Saskatchewan — 55 per cent — said they agreed with this statement, but people tended to have strong opinions on their side of the issue.

People on the right side of the political spectrum tended to support the idea. People who self-identified as being on the left were opposed.

Environment

When it comes to voters' thoughts on the environment, most Saskatchewan people believe there should be more investment in renewable energy.

Sixty-eight per cent of respondents to Vote Compass believe the Saskatchewan government should invest more in renewable energy, whereas 5 per cent said it should invest less.

The Saskatchewan Party government announced a plan to have half of its energy come from renewable sources by 2030.

The Saskatchewan NDP would turn that goal into law and, it says, aim for 60 per cent renewable power by the same date.

When people were asked whether Saskatchewan should put a price on carbon, the results were less definitive.

Carbon pricing and carbon taxes, as well as climate change-fighting initiatives, have been in the news lately with the recent meeting between Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and provincial premiers.

Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall, in particular, has been outspoken in declaring he would not sign off on any "carbon tax", arguing it would hurt a provincial economy that's been battered by low oil prices.

Based on Vote Compass results, it would appear Wall has public opinion on his side on this issue.

Forty-six per cent of respondents said they were opposed to carbon pricing, while 36 per cent were in favour. The rest were neutral or didn't know.

with files from Kevin O'Connor

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