Report from the Legislature – May 19, 2016

An historic week in Saskatchewan started with the swearing-in of Members of the Legislative Assembly and followed with a big reveal atop the Legislative Building in Regina.


The dome has been restored to look just as it did when the legislature was first built. While its brilliant copper shine is only temporary, this historic restoration will preserve the building and ensure its structural safety for generations to come.


The unveiling of a shiny, new legislative dome coincided with the start of brand new legislative session. The first sitting of the newly-elected Saskatchewan Legislative Assembly opened with a Throne Speech that closely resembled our government’s platform in the 2016 election campaign.


We made a commitment to keep Saskatchewan strong. At a time when our economy is challenged by lower commodity prices, there are those who would like to shut down Saskatchewan’s energy industries completely and drastically scale back our agricultural sector. We will continue stand up for these sectors and for the thousands of jobs and families they support whenever they are threatened.


We are also determined to continue working hard on your behalf to keep the promises we’ve made. These promises include:


  • Fixing more highways through an increase in highways maintenance funding;
  • Continuing to make major investments in much-needed infrastructure projects, like hospitals, schools, long-term care facilities and the Regina Bypass;
  • Introducing a new “patent box” tax incentive – the first of its kind in North America – to create jobs and investment through the commercialization of patents and intellectual property in Saskatchewan;
  • Changing regulations to allow home-based food businesses to sell products produced in the home directly to consumers and retailers;
  • Expanding the “two-for-one” model recently introduced for MRI scans to also include CT scans;
  • Expanding an innovative remote technology health care pilot project in Pelican Narrows to other northern communities;
  • Amending The Saskatchewan Employment Act to ensure that those caring for a family member in the final stages of life will be eligible for 28 weeks of leave per year;
  • Reducing health region administration costs by $7.5 million per year and redirecting that savings toward front-line seniors’ care; and
  • Extending SaskPower’s net metering program for solar power for another two years.

Bill 1 of the new session will be an amendment to remove the Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority from The Crown Corporations Public Ownership Act. This will allow our government to move forward on its commitment to convert 40 government-owned liquor stores to private stores, create 12 new private stores and offer consumers more choice, more convenience and more competitive prices.


In addition, an all-party legislative committee will be asked to look at ways to increase the rate of organ donations in Saskatchewan. Organ donations save lives and this committee will be tasked with reviewing best practices and reporting back with their findings and recommendations.


The Throne Speech debate will last about two weeks and will be followed by the introduction of the 2016-17 provincial budget on June 1st.


As our government begins a new term in office, we remain focused on keeping our economy and finances strong, on standing up for our province’s interests, and humbly working each day to keep Saskatchewan strong.