REGINA -- The Government of Saskatchewan announced the Spring sitting of the Legislative Assembly will start on April 6 with the tabling of the provincial budget – meaning Saskatchewan MLAs will not return to the house for another two months.

The Opposition NDP is not happy about the delay.

“We’re quite concerned about the fact that the April 6th date is a month later than normal. It provides less opportunity for scrutiny – especially for scrutiny over the government’s COVID-19 response and vaccine rollout,” said NDP House Leader Vicki Mowat. 

Last spring, the house was called back into session a month earlier, but adjourned days later amid COVID-19 fears. 

The budget was not presented until June. This year, a budget will be the first item of business.

“We’re looking forward to that,” said Government House Leader Jeremy Harrison. “Obviously the budget is going to be an important and significant part of that session but also we have nearly 30 pieces of legislation which we introduced after the election that we look forward to debating fully and passing as well.” 

The legislature will also debate several bills introduced last fall but not passed, including measures to address the sale of stolen copper pipes, permission for victims of domestic violence to break apartment leases and the creation of protection orders for victims of human trafficking. 

The NDP said the late start will make it more difficult to do their job. 

“The government is trying to avoid scrutiny and ram through legislation without giving it the opportunity for full debate,” said Mowat.

The government blamed the late start of the spring session on the need for more time to work on its COVID-19 response. MLAs will be given two months to debate the issues before house adjourns near the end of May.