NDP’s Advanced Education Critic Warren McCall during Tuesday’s sitting of the Legislative Assembly

The province’s NDP opposition party is once again questioning the government’s decision to consolidate funding to the Northern Teacher’s Education Program.

The matter was brought up during Tuesday afternoon’s sitting of Legislative Assembly where Advanced Education Critic Warren McCall questioned the government’s decision to sign a 5-year funding agreement with NORTEP before the election.

“Mere weeks after the election they come in under the (idea) of transformative change to say that our signature on the agreement wasn’t worth the paper the signature went on,” says McCall. “How is it that they said one thing before the election, that the north counted on, and one thing very different after.”

Here was Advanced Education Minister Bronwyn Eyre’s response.

“This is about finding the best and most sustainable solution for the future of the north, so that northern students can continue to thrive, build lives, have jobs and train in the north… for the betterment of all communities,” says Eyre.

The government has not yet been able to provide a figure for how much the consolidation of NORTEP/NORPAC would save the province.

“This issue needs a straight answer,” says McCall.

McCall also touched on recent comments from Ken Ladoucer , Director of Education of the Northern Lights School Division who says there is a shortage of teachers in the region, which McCall says is contrary to recent comments made by Eyre.

In a Saskatoon StarPhoenix article Ladoucer says the NLDS began the school year with 6 vacancies and still has three unfilled positions.

“When will this Minister get the facts straight and honour the commitment this government made to the students, teachers and northern communities who are counting on the vital work of NORTEP/NORPAC,” says McCall.

According to Eyre her remarks were not in contrast with Ladoucer’s comments.

“What I said was there were more students interested in pursuing teacher education than there are spots. That’s not inconsistent with the comments by Ken Ladoucer that there is a chronic shortage of teachers,” says Eyre. “That’s why we need to ensure that there is sustainability and growth in the north and that needs are being met and there is always more work to be done”

According to a recent study on the NORTEP program 94 per cent of graduates from 2010-2015 were currently employed in northern Saskatchewan.