Report from the Legislature – March 29, 2018

Our government recently announced the creation of a financial literacy curriculum for students across Saskatchewan. For the first time, students will be able to use financial literacy as a credit towards their graduation. Students taking these classes will learn the basics of personal finances, and why it is important to have that knowledge as they get closer to adulthood. The curriculum for these classes will be written soon, with full implementation in our schools by September 2019.

The Government of Saskatchewan has also taken steps to equip children with more knowledge and skills in coding and robotics to help prepare them for emerging careers in science, mathematics, engineering and technology. The future will be even more dependent on technology and computing, so the curriculum in our schools should reflect that, and help our growing tech sector here at home.

Another example of our commitment to the future of our students and our province is the Saskatchewan Advantage Scholarship (SAS). The scholarship is expected to help over 21,000 Saskatchewan students reduce their tuition costs this year.

The SAS provides eligible high school grads up to $500 per year towards tuition at post-secondary institutions in the province.  Since the program was introduced in 2012, nearly 90,000 scholarships have been awarded to support more than 40,000 students.

Over the past ten years, the province has invested close to $8.4 billion in post-secondary education and student supports. This includes the Graduate Retention Program which provides income tax credits of up to $20,000 for graduates who live and work in Saskatchewan.

During a decade of growth, more and more students found opportunity to stay in Saskatchewan for work, to further their education, to start their careers, raise their families and build a life. The growth of our province continues today with our population increasing by 13,410 people over the past year.  This marks 47 consecutive quarters of population growth and shows a correlation between the abundance of opportunities in Saskatchewan and people making the decision to settle here.

Saskatchewan continues to see growth in our population drive growth in our economy.  Manufacturing sales are up 5.7 per cent this month compared to last and our forestry industry is emerging as one of the province’s strongest growth sectors.

Prices for all forest products were very strong in 2017, reaching their highest levels since 2005. Prices are forecast to remain high over the next several years, largely due to strong demand from major export markets. The sector supports a total of more than 8,400 jobs, approximately 30 per cent of which are held by Indigenous people. Full development of the sector has the potential to generate more than $2 billion annually in forest products sales and support a total of more than 13,000 jobs.

So far this spring, the new leader of the NDP has shown a shocking lack of support for Saskatchewan jobs. Ryan Meili recently described Saskatchewan’s fight against the Trudeau carbon tax as a “costly and pointless crusade.”  What is “costly and pointless” is a carbon tax that would increase costs for families and the industries that drive our economy while doing nothing to reduce global emissions.

Your Saskatchewan Party government has a plan to balance the budget and keep our economy strong. In contrast, Ryan Meili and the NDP have a plan to add $2.5 billion in new spending each and every year. While they have promised to increase income tax and stand ready to force a carbon tax on Saskatchewan, it’s not clear how they intend to pay for their reckless and runaway spending.

While the NDP is waving the white flag and clearing the path for a carbon tax, their refusal to acknowledge the costs of their irresponsible spending is a prescription for economic disaster. This is weak leadership and it proves that Ryan Meili and the NDP are still completely out-of-touch with reality, the needs of our economy and the priorities of Saskatchewan people.