Report from the Legislature May 18, 2017

May 18, 2017

The provincial budget has generated discussion inside the legislature and across the province. Many of the difficult decisions highlighted a Legislative Session that saw Saskatchewan move away from its reliance on resource revenues and ensure the economy and finances stay strong.

In the long run, it is better to make tough but necessary choices today and avoid kicking the deficit can down the road for someone else to deal with. Our choice to meet the fiscal challenge now meant making some difficult decisions for the long-term fiscal and economic strength of our province.

Recent economic indicators show the resilience of Saskatchewan’s diversified economy. Employment is up through the first four months of the year, exports are up significantly and Saskatchewan has led the country in areas like wholesale trade, retail sales and building permit growth.

The decisions we are making today will ensure it stays strong into the future.

The government passed several pieces of legislation during the spring sitting, including:

  • Legislation to reduce health care administration and better co-ordinate health services by amalgamating the province’s health regions into one provincial health authority;
  • Legislation to protect victims of domestic violence by allowing them to end rental leases early if necessary to remove themselves from an unsafe situation;
  • Legislation to clearly define what does and doesn’t constitute “privatization”;
  • Legislation to encourage investment in innovation through the creation of the first “patent box” incentive in North America;
  • Legislation to improve pipeline safety; and
  • Legislation to improve safety for tow truck operators by allowing flashing blue lights to be used on tow trucks.

During the spring session, Premier Wall announced that, in addition to an appeal, the province will use the notwithstanding clause to protect school choice following a court decision that would force non-Catholic students out of Catholic schools and threaten funding to other faith-based schools.

On the final day of the spring sitting, the same day the federal government announced details of their plan to impose a job-killing carbon tax on Saskatchewan people and businesses, the Saskatchewan NDP finally admitted that they would impose their own job-killing carbon tax on Saskatchewan.

In fact, the only candidate seeking to lead the Saskatchewan NDP has said “we applaud the federal government’s recent announcement of a minimum price on carbon.”

The plan put forward by Ottawa and supported by the NDP is harmful to Saskatchewan’s agriculture, mining and oil & gas sectors. Our government stands with Saskatchewan people who say no to a carbon tax that is dangerous for the economy and for working families across the province.

As the spring session comes to an end, Saskatchewan Provincial Parks officially open for the season. If you and your family are preparing for camping adventures or fishing trips, recreation and relaxation, it is important to note that it’s still early and a number of parks may have reduced services.

Saskatchewan Provincial Parks will be celebrating Canada’s 150th anniversary with special programs throughout the season, including free day entry on Canada Day, July 1, and Canada’s Parks Day, July 15. Provincial Parks will also offer a 150-themed geocaching program.