Report from the Legislature – June 01, 2017


The words thank you don’t even begin to describe how grateful Saskatchewan is to have received an extraordinary gift from the Jim Pattison Foundation.

A $50 million donation to the Children’s Hospital Foundation of Saskatchewan (CFHS), is going to benefit children and families for generations to come.

In honour of this unprecedented generosity, the hospital will be named the Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital.  The CHFS will also be renamed the Jim Pattison Children’s Foundation.

Mr. Pattison’s donation, together with fundraising and $235.5 million from the province, will ensure that a world-class children’s hospital will finally become a reality in Saskatchewan.

Once completed, the Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital will better meet the needs of Saskatchewan’s children, expecting mothers, and families by enhancing patient care and enabling the ongoing recruitment and retention of pediatric specialists.

With two years remaining before the hospital opens its doors, the Saskatoon Health Region has already successfully recruited more than 70 per cent of the pediatric specialists it will need to staff the province’s new maternal and children’s hospital.

The project remains on time and on budget, and is scheduled for completion in 2019.

Thanks to the many businesses and workers who are busy building Saskatchewan’s diverse economy, our province is positioned to lead the country in economic growth this year.

The Conference Board of Canada is forecasting that Saskatchewan will have Canada’s second-highest economic growth rate in 2017 at 2.5 per cent.

This is just another sign that our resilient economy is gaining strength.

Saskatchewan’s Cameco has just signed a 10-year deal with Ontario’s Bruce Power worth $2 billion.  This will see our province’s uranium resources continue to power Canadian homes.

In the last several years, our government has engaged in international trade missions to further promote Saskatchewan’s role in supplying clean nuclear power around the world.

Saskatchewan’s strong and resilient economy is producing increased wages in the province.  This is in contrast to Alberta where weekly earnings actually declined by 0.8 per cent year-over-year.

On a year-over-year basis, Saskatchewan’s average weekly earnings saw a 2.6 per cent increase (seasonally adjusted) in March – the second highest among Canada’s provinces.

We will continue working to make the decisions necessary to keep our economy strong.  For example, our government will continue to oppose Ottawa’s forced federal carbon tax.

A recently released federal memo, prepared for the Minister of Natural Resources, says that cost hikes from this tax will hit Saskatchewan and Alberta particularly hard because the two provinces have “the greatest proportion of exporting industries that will pay more for carbon emissions…”

Our government has been clear about the negative impacts a carbon tax would have.  We’ve said all along that producers in the agricultural, mining and energy sectors will face steep cost hikes making us less competitive and it seems that Ottawa’s policy-makers agree as this memo makes that clear.

While the memo points out that some sectors – like Ontario’s car makers – can pass costs along to consumers – other sectors cannot.  The memo goes on to warn that carbon pricing alone cannot achieve the emissions targets set out by the federal government, and that additional mitigation measures and regulations will need to be coordinated.

Ottawa has tried to suggest that their carbon tax off is a benign measure that will slash emissions and have no unintended consequences for people and the economy.  Obviously, as their own memo warns, this isn’t true.

Ottawa should allow the provinces to make their own climate plans that achieve real reductions in emissions that work for their people and their economy.  Our government released a climate white paper in 2016 that outlines Saskatchewan’s plan to do just that.

Saskatchewan’s Climate White Paper highlights Saskatchewan’s commitment to achieving real reductions in carbon emissions by employing innovative and technological solutions.  It includes employing new technology like carbon capture and reaffirms the commitment by utilities like SaskPower to work towards 50% renewable power by 2030 – faster than other provinces.