Report from the Legislature – May 4, 2017

Saskatchewan’s growing population, job creation, consumer confidence and investment speaks to the resilience and diversity of our economy.

This week billions of dollars in investment, thousands of construction jobs, and 400 new permanent positions were celebrated at the opening of Saskatchewan’s first new potash mine in over 40 years.  Thank you to K+S Potash Canada for choosing to invest in Saskatchewan.

The Mosaic Company also marked a milestone for their multi-billion dollar K3 potash project in Esterhazy this week.  The completion of new production shafts highlight Mosaic’s long-term commitment to the community as well as the sustainability of the industry in Saskatchewan.

These companies help our province grow by creating jobs, and by helping to build a more diversified economy.  I am proud that our province continues to attract major investments like this.  It is a reflection of the environment that our government has worked hard to create.

We work to encourage this kind of investment by ensuring the right policies and competitive royalty and taxation structures are in place.  We also want our interactions with industry to be streamlined and efficient, which is why we work to modernize regulations and reduce red tape.

The Fraser Institute’s Annual Mining Survey for 2016 recently ranked Saskatchewan number one in the world for Investment Attractiveness.

In other good economic news, Evraz North America will help get Canadian energy to world markets by supplying 800kms worth of steel pipe for the Trans Mountain pipeline.  This project is very important for our economy and for hundreds of families who depend on jobs at Regina’s Evraz steel.

The Petroleum Services Association has also revised its oil & gas drilling forecast for Saskatchewan.  Drilling activity is now expected to increase by nearly 40% over the initial forecast.

Major credit rating agency DBRS has confirmed Saskatchewan’s credit rating and strong fiscal plan for the province.  The plan, which will keep the economy strong and ensure our long-term prosperity as a province, makes us less reliant on resource revenue and puts us in a position to eliminate our deficit in just three years.

When fully implemented, Saskatchewan will have:

  • The lowest corporate tax rate in Canada (tied with British Columbia);
  • The lowest taxes on manufacturing and processing in Canada;
  • Nation-leading research and development incentives;
  • Among the lowest income taxes in Canada;
  • The lowest PST of any province with a PST; and
  • Citizens at every level of income will pay less income tax and PST than they did in 2007.

Saskatchewan will also be the only province without a carbon tax of any kind.

This week our government announced that we will protect school choice in Saskatchewan by invoking the notwithstanding clause of The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

This decision is in response to a recent Court of Queen’s Bench ruling that, if allowed to stand, would force about 10,000 non-Catholic students out of Catholic schools in Saskatchewan.

The ruling could also risk provincial funding of 26 other faith-based schools including Luther College, Regina Christian School, Saskatoon Christian School and Huda School.

We support school choice including public, separate and faith-based schools.

Section 33 of The Charter of Rights and Freedoms gives provincial legislatures the authority to override certain portions of the Charter for a five-year term.

By invoking the notwithstanding clause we are protecting the rights of parents and students to choose the schools that work best for their families, regardless of their religious faith.