Report from the Legislature – October 25, 2018

The new session of the legislature opened this week with a Throne Speech focused on our government’s commitment to stand up for Saskatchewan people. This includes our plans to implement our Prairie Resilience Climate Change strategy, improve cellular coverage in rural communities, and deliver a balanced budget for 2019-20.

While our economy and the province’s finances are showing signs of improvement, we are still facing challenges due to the threat of a damaging federal carbon tax, continued sanctions from the United States on our steel and uranium industries, and a deeply discounted price for our oil caused by a lack of pipelines.

The day before our Throne Speech, politicians from Ottawa made headlines with a new plan to hit Saskatchewan with a carbon tax. This scheme is a shell game where we would all be forced to pay more for basic necessities like fuel, heat and power.

Promising a new rebate for families to offset all of these increasing costs, The Trudeau Liberals are now desperately trying to convince us that we will actually be better off by paying more to gas up our vehicles, heat our homes and keep the lights on.

Most of us here in Saskatchewan have to drive a lot for work, and for our kids. We also have to heat our homes on some very cold days. The Trudeau carbon tax means that all of these things are going to cost a lot more – and those are just the direct costs.

Hockey rinks, rec centres, school divisions, and municipalities are all going to be paying a lot of carbon tax and, at the end of the day, that cost is going to get passed along to us.

Our agriculture sector will be hit hard as well, despite the federal government claiming otherwise. Producers will still pay on inputs such as road and rail transport, as well as natural gas and propane consumption in shops, barns and grain dryers.

Saskatchewan people won’t be fooled. The new Trudeau carbon tax plan is a cynical attempt to buy your vote with your money.

Saskatchewan people know the Trudeau carbon tax is not good environmental or economic policy. An analysis from the University of Regina earlier this year estimated the federal carbon tax would hurt Saskatchewan’s economy by almost $16 billion, with little effect on emissions.

Our government has a plan for the environment and reducing emissions – our Prairie Resilience strategy – which has been accepted by the federal government. The feds, however, are still choosing to put this punishing tax on Saskatchewan.

Prairie Resilience will apply new performance standards for Saskatchewan industry heavy-emitters and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the oil and gas sector, while SaskPower continues to increase our renewable-energy generation.

We do not believe a carbon tax will be effective in tackling climate change. It will hurt Saskatchewan’s economy and it will hurt Saskatchewan families’ finances.

We will stand up for Saskatchewan people, fight the carbon tax, and this new federal Liberal vote-buying scheme.

Our constitutional court challenge continues and we are repeating our call for the federal government to respect our legal challenge and hold off imposing the carbon tax in Saskatchewan at least until the courts have decided.

In addition to standing up for Saskatchewan communities, families and businesses by challenging the Trudeau carbon tax in court, we will be advancing a number of new initiatives and legislation during the fall sitting. This includes:

  • Completing the new 284-bed state-of-the-art Saskatchewan Hospital North Battleford to help those facing significant mental health needs;
  • Continuing to improve response times and enhance officer visibility in rural Saskatchewan through the Protection and Response Team;
  • Becoming the first province in Canada with Clare’s Law – legislation designed to provide a framework for police services to disclose information about someone’s violent or abusive past to intimate partners who may be at risk;
  • Expanding interpersonal violence leave to include sexual violence of any kind;
  • Amending The Saskatchewan Employment Act to create a new critically ill adult leave to allow family members of critically ill adults to take up to 15 weeks leave to care for their family member;
  • Expanding parental leave from 37 weeks to 63 weeks and adding an additional week of maternity leave;
  • Apologizing to Sixties Scoop survivors in our province who were impacted by historical government policies of child apprehension and adoption;
  • Introducing changes to improve commercial driver training;
  • Increasing funding to improve intersection safety throughout the province;
  • Safely regulating the sale and distribution of cannabis through a competitive private model;
  • Amending The Police Act to enable rural municipalities and municipalities with populations under 500 to join regional police services;
  • Making changes to The Seizure of Criminal Property Act to make it easier for property to be seized if it has been acquired through unlawful activities;
  • Introducing legislation on trespassing laws to better address the balance between members of the public and the rights of rural landowners; and
  • Offering free hunting and fishing licenses to Canadian military veterans.

Our Throne Speech outlines our commitment to growing our economy and delivering important programs and services for the people of the province. While we face many challenges, Saskatchewan people are determined, resilient, resourceful and tenacious. Our government will always reflect those qualities as it stands up for our province and works to build a stronger Saskatchewan.