NGA replies to SUMA Concerns

Note:  in 2005 the name of the Party became the Green Party of Saskatchewan

Ben Webster Replies to SUMA Questions


NGA Support for Local Communities

September 26, 2003

Mike Badham, President
200-1819 Cornwall Street
Regina, SK.
S4P 2K4

Dear Mr. Badham and municipal leaders,

Thank you for considering the voice and vision of the New Green Alliance to share with the membership of the Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Association. The NGA welcomes the opportunity to provide our message for anyone to compare with the message of the three traditional parties in deciding what is best for urban property taxpayers and their communities.

The New Green Alliance is clear in it's beliefs about the strong role needed at the municipal levels of government, and decentralisation. All members and candidates of the NGA agree with the fundamental principle that we must return power and responsibility to individuals, communities, and regions. We must have a decentralised democratic society with our political, economic, and social institutions locating power on the smallest scale that is efficient and practical. We must reconcile the need for community and self-determination with the need for appropriate centralised regulation in certain matters. The NGA is pleased to apply these principles to answer the five questions that you have raised:

1. What is your party's position on returning a portion of gas taxes paid by taxpayers directly back to municipalities to deal with the backlog of infrastructure needs?

The New Green Alliance would be interested in a plan to return a portion of gas taxes back to municipalities, even though we don't have an official policy on the proposal. Our existing policy does address the issue of portions of taxes such as the PST will come back to communities and municipalities as a "community development tax return". The NGA is also interested in providing extra incentives to communities who choose to develop and expand environmentally friendly modes of transportation. This type of infrastructure would include better public transportation, and a focus to more bicycle and pedestrian friendly development with a shift away from more vehicle roads.

2. What will your party do to address the current inequity in how tax dollars are shared given the fact that less than 5% of each tax dollar returns to municipalities to pay for essential services like policing, fire fighting, water and sewer, landfills, streets, recreational facilities, etc?

For nearly two decades now Saskatchewan communities and municipalities have seen reductions in funding grants from provincial governments. These provincial governments cut services and offloaded costs to the municipal level, so they could drop personal income and corporate taxes on the wealthy in an attempt to maintain popularity and "competitiveness". A New Green Alliance government in the Legislature would reinvest tax dollars back into it's municipalities; both urban and rural. The NGA government will bring back taxes on resource revenues, and restructure taxes to be more progressive, based on ability to pay. The NGA will assist local communities develop economies that assure protection of the environment and worker's rights, and broad citizen participation in planning, with the goal of increasing our quality of life.

3. Will your party commit to an appropriate level of infrastructure funding to deal with the backlog of projects resulting from funding cuts by past provincial governments?

The New Green Alliance has a plan for reinvesting in Saskatchewan communities through a "community development tax return", whereby a percentage of the PST would be returned to local communities and community groups which commit to provide local services and infrastructure to citizens according to locally determined needs and priorities. As communities and community organizations develop greater capacity and efficiency in providing local governance and in supporting local community needs, a greater percentage of the community development tax return would be provided, along with the delegation of greater community services currently being controlled and financed by the provincial government. An NGA government would also change laws to establish a scaled (graduated) revenue tax that would apply above a given threshold to replace the current municipal business tax system. This plan would increase revenues for municipal governments to meet local needs, including infrastructure n

4. When will your party reverse the current 60/40 (60% municipal 40% provincial) education funding split, and what mechanisms will you put in place to ensure that all property tax classes benefit equally?

A New Green Alliance government will increase funding to K-12 education immediately after it is elected, and will work towards 100% of education funding coming from general revenues of the provincial government. The NGA will also increase funding to Early Childhood Intervention and pre-school programs. The NGA will require School Councils composed of community members, parents, and staff to have stronger decision-making abilities in school governance. We will also require that any property owner paying taxes will have represention, which currently is not ensured.

5. Will your party commit to establishing a specific infrastructure program for water and waste water projects?

Water is our province's most precious resource, and the New Green Alliance will make it a serious priority to ensure that it is safe and publicly accessible for all citizens. Our government will establish a water testing program to identify water supplies that are not polluted with pesticide residues and other undesirable oppollutants. We will protect these water supplies from pollution for the use of Saskatchewan citizens. Our government would also establish a sewage corporation to assist communities in the province to irrigate from their sewage lagoons to prevent the pollution of downsteam water going into other communities' potable water supplies, where it is proven that there is no risk of contamination to ground water or soil. The New Green Alliance believes that water is a human right, and will ban the export of fresh water to other jurisdictions.

Thank you, again, for giving the New Green Alliance the opportunity to present a fresh alternative vision to the citizens of Saskatchewan. The NGA candidates and I look forward to answering more questions during the campaign, and presenting our commitment to responsible stewardship and sustainable communities. I encourage everyone to find out more about the New Green Alliance alternatives and candidates on our election website and our main site at

See you on the campaign trail!


Ben Webster, Leader

New Green Alliance
2138 McIntyre St.
Regina, SK.
S4P 2R7
(306) 352-0219)