Report from the Legislature – April 6, 2017

Premier Wall travelled to Washington D.C. this week to promote the continuation of a strong trade relationship and free trade between Canada and the U.S. as a benefit to both countries.  In addition to meetings with elected officials and members of the new administration, the Premier also delivered a keynote address and took part in a panel discussion on trade at the Heritage Foundation.

A number of specific trade issues important to Saskatchewan were discussed, including country of origin labelling, the need for a new softwood lumber agreement and the goal of North American energy independence.  Premier Wall also promoted Saskatchewan’s clean coal technology.

As an exporting province, it’s important for Saskatchewan to make the case for free trade when the new administration is looking at re-opening the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).  After 25 years, updating this agreement makes sense but we want to do so in a way that protects the unique trade relationship between our two countries and the thousands of jobs it creates.

The U.S. is Saskatchewan’s largest customer, accounting for about half of the province’s total exports, with shipments valued at $12.9 billion in 2016.

As a trading nation, Canada needs to ensure that people and products move quickly and safely.  Our government understands this is particularly true in Saskatchewan where modern and efficient roadways support economic activity and facilitate trade.

Saskatchewan has partnered with the Government of Canada to help meet the challenges of a growing province, help build the economy and help people get home safely.  The federal government is providing up to 50 per cent of the funding for five highway rehabilitation projects supporting national, provincial and regional economic activity.

In total, the $1.1 billion 2017-18 Ministry of Highways and Infrastructure budget will see work continue on major projects and 990 kilometres of provincial highways across Saskatchewan over the coming year.  This includes $343 million to start or continue construction across the province, as well as $500 million for the Regina Bypass.

Major projects to improve safety and increase capacity on some of Saskatchewan’s busiest highways are among this year’s investments, including:

  • Continued work on new overpasses at Warman and Martensville;
  • Continued work on twinning Highway 7 between Saskatoon and Delisle;
  • Continued work on twinning Highway 39 between Estevan and Bienfait;
  • Construction of two sets of passing lanes on Highway 5 between Saskatoon and Humboldt;
  • Further planning for future twinning and passing lanes on Highways 6 and 39 from Estevan to Regina; and
  • Begin planning for passing lanes on Highway 4 north of North Battleford and Highway 7 from Rosetown to the Alberta border.

150 km of rural highway upgrades, including:

  • Highway 4 south of Cadillac;
  • Highway 51 near Kelfield;
  • Highway 80 north of Esterhazy; and
  • Highway 322 north of Silton.

Repairing and upgrading 990 km of provincial highways, including:

  • 150 km of rural highway upgrades;
  • 300 km of repaving;
  • 140 km of sealing; and
  • 400 km of other treatments.
  • Investing more than $53 million to build, operate and maintain highways and airports in northern Saskatchewan.
  • 30 major bridge rehabilitations and replacements, as well as numerous culvert projects across the province.
  • More than $20 million for urban and rural municipal road projects and airports, funding that is over and above revenue sharing.

We know there is still more work to be done and this budget is a good step in that direction.  Our commitment and track record is clear.  With this year’s budget, we’ve now invested more than $7.4 billion to improve more than 12,000 kilometres of roads and highways in Saskatchewan.