Letter from Christine

We do, indeed, live in interesting times.

The 2017-18 Provincial Budget was engineered with one thing in mind – Saskatchewan people. The easy option for our government would have been to bury our heads in the sand and hope for the best in regards to our provincial deficit. Instead, we chose to take action in order to balance the budget in three years, while eliminating the potential for accumulating debt.

Many who I have spoken with have provided advice to “watch the debt,” and “don’t spend more than we have,” and “pay down the debt.” In fact, a primary focus of the 2007 election campaign was the provincial debt and the best way to manage it. Since being elected, our government has invested heavily in infrastructure to accommodate our growing economy while paying debt we inherited. We have built hospitals and schools – including a brand new elementary school in White City. Our government recently contributed $7.3 million to the upgraded waste water treatment plant that will enable the communities of White City and Emerald Park to expand upwards of 15,000 residents. We have contributed to the construction of the Regina bypass that is designed to ease traffic congestion along Highway 1 east. The Regina Bypass is a project long dreamed of. The Saskatchewan Party acted on this need and made it happen; the first segments are slated to open this year! Even in these challenging times, we remain committed to infrastructure investment.

Healthcare continues to be of utmost importance. We have significantly increased the number of doctors and nurses practicing in Saskatchewan. We are training more doctors than ever before. Additionally, the 2017-18 Provincial Budget saw further reduction in income taxes, so that more of your money remains in your pockets.

Reducing the size of government, spending less, and focusing on consumer consumption are the methods we have chosen to address the $1.2 billion government resource revenue shortfall. Resource revenues are unreliable and unpredictable. It is unlikely we will see $80.00 per barrel oil prices again. If we are so fortunate, we will use the extra revenue to pay down debt or fund one-time projects that do not require long term funding.

We continue to support those most vulnerable. With the 2017-18 budget, Social Services has received the highest funding in history. We will continue to ensure funded programs are based on available evidence and have successful outcomes.

In challenging fiscal times, we must understand we cannot achieve balance without reducing or eliminating programs or services funded previously. We understand these reductions are difficult. We remain committed to working with the affected organizations in an effort to find alternatives and efficiencies. We are focused on core government functions. Where the private sector can fill non-core functions, we are encouraging them and providing opportunities.

I have always believed Saskatchewanians want their elected representatives to be honest, work hard, and have the courage to take the action required to make Saskatchewan the very best place to live, work, and raise a family. I hold these quintessential Saskatchewan values. Challenging times are nothing new to our province; we will persevere. We remain stronger than we have ever been. Our economy is showing signs of rebound. We are diversifying in order to decrease our dependence on our natural resources. The difficult choices we make now will be of great benefit in the long term.

I am proud and humbled to represent you. I want the best for Saskatchewan. We will get through these tough times, and be stronger as a result.