Report from the Legislature – June 26, 2013

As spring turns to summer across Saskatchewan, the most important work an MLA does gets underway. When the spring session of the Legislature came to an end, Premier Brad Wall gave us some summer homework with simple instructions – go home and listen.   Now into their sixth straight year, these consultations are invaluable.   Last year, they laid the groundwork for our Growth Plan and its ambitious goals of a 1.2 million people living in Saskatchewan by 2020 and the pursuit of a growth agenda that improves the quality of life for all people.

Ensuring a high quality of life for Saskatchewan’s seniors has long been priority of our government.   I am proud to announce that effective July 1st, benefits for eligible seniors under both the Seniors Income Plan (SIP) and the Personal Care Home Benefit (PCHB) are increasing.  The monthly maximum SIP benefit for seniors living in special care homes will double, from $25 to $50.  SIP benefits for seniors living independently will increase to a maximum of $250.   The monthly income threshold under the PCHB increases to $1875.   If you qualify for the PCHB, the program makes up the difference between eligible seniors’ monthly income and $1875.

One of the challenges of growth is the demand it places on infrastructure.  To that end, another busy highway summer construction season is underway.   Most recently, we announced that pre-construction work has begun to twin specific sections of some of the province’s busiest highways:

  • Highway 16 east of Saskatoon to Clavet;
  • Highway 7 west of Saskatoon Delisle; and
  • Highway 39 east of Estevan to Bienfait.

With the Canada Day long weekend upon us, the RCMP and the Ministry of Highways’ Highway Transport Patrol are teaming up to conduct a safety blitz.  New black and white signs will tell drivers exactly when to slow to 60 km/hr.  Drivers now face three times the normal fines for speeding and heavier enforcement in work zones.  Slowing down not only protects you and your family, it also means the men and women who maintain our highways get to go home to their families.

Our hearts go out to our neighbors to the west, as historic flooding in Alberta captures headlines across the country and around the world.   The flooding has implications for Saskatchewan in terms of higher water flows from the North and South Saskatchewan Rivers.   The Water Security Agency, as it did when there was the potential for significant spring flooding in Saskatchewan this year, is monitoring the situation closely.  The communities of Cumberland House and Cumberland House First Nation have been evacuated and the floodgates at the Gardiner Dam were opened to slow the flow of water down.

So back to this summer’s homework.  If you see your MLA out and about, or have a chance to stop by the constituency office for a coffee, don’t hesitate to chat with us.   We need your input to get our assignment done.   It’s due in September and the Premier’s not big on lates.    I look forward to hearing from you so that together we can continue to move Saskatchewan forward.