Report from the Legislature – May 21, 2014

Today, Saskatchewan is home to more people, more activity and more opportunities than ever before. This is reflected in our province’s unemployment rate of 3.4 per cent – the lowest in all of Canada, less than half of the national average and our lowest level ever on record.

Our strong and growing economy is driven by the contributions of a diverse and growing population.  This growth means we can deliver a balanced budget while still making the important investments needed to ensure Saskatchewan is a great place to live, work and play.  Our government’s seventh consecutive balanced budget and continued investments in infrastructure and people were the highlights of the spring session of the Legislative Assembly.

Some of the investments and new initiatives announced during the spring session include the new Regina Bypass project, a commitment to a new Saskatoon commuter bridge, passing lanes and twinning projects on a number of Saskatchewan highways, a new Saskatchewan Hospital in North Battleford and the renewal of Victoria Hospital in Prince Albert.

Our government is committed to education and, to that end, we are building nine new joint-use schools in Regina, Saskatoon, Warman and Martensville; we’re investing in upgrades to bandwidth to increase internet speeds in schools and we’re investing in 1,000 new training seats and doubling the funding for initiatives to improve education and employment outcomes for First Nations and Métis people.  Our government is also investing in infrastructure that includes a new Trades and Technology Centre in Yorkton, continued construction at Southeast Regional College in Weyburn and the Health Sciences Centre at the U of S in Saskatoon.  These are only some of the projects introduced or funded this session that will keep Saskatchewan on the path of steady growth.

With the spring session now behind us, my colleagues and I get back to our home constituencies to focus on our most important work – listening to and representing our constituents.  This feedback is essential as it helps to form our government’s priorities moving forward.

One of our ongoing priorities is providing support for those who need it and the Discounted Bus Pass Program is one way we’re able to do that.  Whether it’s getting groceries or going to appointments, this program helps our province’s most vulnerable people get where they need to go.  The Discounted Bus Pass Program allows participating cities to set the retail rate they charge to the client, while still ensuring it is at least $25 below the full fare.  It makes accessing public transit easier for those receiving income assistance and, in many cases, eligible riders will only pay approximately one-third the cost of a regular bus pass.

Just a reminder that extra care and attention is required now that highway construction crews have begun their work building and maintaining Saskatchewan’s highways.  Simplified signage is in place directing drivers exactly when to slow to 60 km/h.  Drivers who don’t run the risk of facing three times the normal fines for speeding.  Wherever you go this spring and summer, safe travels!