Sask. NDP accuses MLA for raising Regina motel rates on social assistance client

The Saskatchewan NDP is accusing a provincial MLA that he owns the Sunrise Motel in Regina and had increased rates for a social assistance client.

Regina resident Evelyn Harper was staying at the motel, which the Sask. NDP claims is owned by MLA Greg Grewal, after she was evicted from her government housing unit earlier this year.

The Saskatchewan NDP obtained receipts from the Ministry of Social Services that raises questions about mismanagement of public funds, the transparency of the Sask. Party government and possibly even the ethics of its individual employees.

During a press conference on Nov. 15, 2023, the Opposition social services critic said the public deserves answers.

“They demonstrate that the Sunrise Motel … significantly inflated their rates when the Ministry of Social Services began footing the bill,” said Meara Conway.

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“The price increased dramatically from Oct. 29th to Nov. 1st … the facts show that the only difference is that the Ministry of Social Services got involved and offered to foot the bill with taxpayer dollars.”

Harper was evicted from government housing on Oct. 27, 2023. With nowhere to go, she found a room at the Sunrise Motel where she paid $132 a night, plus a $200 damage deposit when she first checked in. Two days later, the rate increased to $168 a night and on Nov. 1 to 3, the rate increased again to $200 a night.

Conway said Harper’s situation was brought of the attention of the Minister of Social Services, Gene Makowsky.

In a statement, the province responded that the Sask. NDP are making serious and unfounded allegations based on the fact they don’t understand that Social Services doesn’t typically pay damage deposits.

“There is no standard rate for motel rooms. The price fluctuates based a number of factors including the type of room requested, demand and availability,” the statement read.

“Specific to this situation, all regular guests must provide a $200 damage deposit. However, Social Services does not typically pay damage deposits, which amounts in room charges being restated, appearing higher than when Social Services does not pay the cost.”

The province denies the Sask. NDP’s claims that MLA Grewal manages the Sunrise Motel and stated that Harper has been placed into stable housing and no longer requires accommodations at Sunrise Motel.

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Grewal was not available for a comment.

— with files from The Canadian Press 

&copy 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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