Report from the Legislature – November 08, 2018

Saskatchewan is experiencing strong job growth in spite of trade and transportation challenges, world resource prices, and the threat of a federally-imposed carbon tax.

Statistics Canada figures show 2,500 new jobs last month, nearly 10,000 new jobs since last year, and the best job growth our province has seen in the past four years.

Your Saskatchewan Party government will keep standing up for Saskatchewan workers and jobs. We will promote our province and the goods produced and manufactured by our residents to new and existing trade markets in order to create more jobs and opportunity here at home.

Saskatchewan homeowners and businesses will see a reduction in their natural gas rates starting this month – the lowest offered to customers since 1999 – but the savings may be temporary if the federal government decides to force a carbon tax on SaskEnergy customers.

SaskEnergy has also applied to the Rate Review Panel for an even lower rate which would come into effect on April 1, 2019.

The total SaskEnergy rate reduction is designed to save customers about $80/year, while the federal carbon tax will see a $1/GJ increase April 1, 2019. This would increase an average residential natural gas bill by approximately 12 per cent or $100-$120 annually.

One of the largest commodity rate reductions in SaskEnergy’s 30-year history could be short-lived due to the Trudeau government’s plan to impose a fuel levy on every home, farm, and business served by natural gas. While SaskEnergy will pass along savings this winter, it could be forced into several years of large, uncalled-for increases due to the federal carbon tax.

As our constitutional court challenge of the federal carbon tax continues, we are repeating our call for the federal government to respect our legal challenge and forget about trying to force this costly, ineffective tax on the people of our province.

Our government is moving ahead with Prairie Resilience, the province’s climate change strategy. This will take action on emissions without a carbon tax on our families and job creators.

Bill 132, The Management and Reduction of Greenhouse Gases Amendment Act, provides the regulatory framework for performance standards to reduce industrial greenhouse gas emissions, a provincial technology fund, performance credits and offset credits.

These amendments are an important step in fulfilling our promise to reduce emissions and make Saskatchewan more resilient to the impacts of climate change. We already have an effective plan, and we are proceeding with industrial performance standards and compliance options in 2019 – especially with the federal government’s recognition of Prairie Resilience.

In addition to performance standards and compliance options, these amendments require large emitters to register with the province, provide for administrative efficiencies in governance of the technology fund, and enable associated regulations and standards. Stakeholders, including industry and associations, provided input into the regulatory framework and indicated support for the amendments throughout summer and fall 2018.

I am also proud to say that our government recently introduced Clare’s Law: the first provincial law in Canada that allows police to release information about someone’s violent or abusive past to intimate partners who may be at risk.

Police services will be able to proactively disclose information to people at risk through the “right to know” process and people who are concerned their partner may potentially have a violent past will be able to ask for information through the “right to ask” process.

We have seen too many cases of interpersonal, domestic and sexual violence in our province. If we are able to identify risk and inform those at risk, we hope to help protect people in Saskatchewan from violent and abusive behaviour by a partner.

Clare’s Law originates in the UK, and is named in honour of Clare Wood, whose father advocated for more disclosure by police after she was murdered by her partner and unaware of his violent past.

Clare’s Law stands alongside existing work with police services and organizations helping domestic violence survivors in our province.