Report from the Legislature – November 15, 2018

Your Saskatchewan Party government maintains its focus on growth and opportunity because a strong economy is essential to strengthen communities and make life better not just for ourselves, but for our friends, neighbours, and future generations.

Saskatchewan had the worst economic growth and job creation record under the NDP. Schools and hospitals closed, highways crumbled, young people and professionals left the province, and wait times for surgery were the longest in Canada.

Today, schools and hospitals are being built, highway safety is a priority, young people and professionals are staying, others are moving here to raise their families and build a life, and wait times for surgery are a lot better than they once were.

The NDP government’s failure to properly invest in Saskatchewan’s infrastructure needs left the province with a massive infrastructure deficit.

This is why we continue to invest in important infrastructure projects like highways, schools, and hospitals in every part of Saskatchewan.

This week we opened new passing lanes to improve safety on Highway 4. This is in addition to ongoing and completed work all across the province.

Earlier this fall, the Chief Mistawasis Bridge in north Saskatoon was opened to traffic.

New interchanges at Warman and Martensville, two of the fastest-growing communities in Saskatchewan, will open this fall, one year ahead of schedule.

The Regina Bypass, which offers a long-term safety solution for Regina and the surrounding area, will be completed next October, on time and on budget.

In all, more than 13,000 kilometres of Saskatchewan highways have been built or improved and 275 bridges have been repaired or replaced since 2007. These projects reduce congestion, improve traffic safety and support future growth.

This fall thousands of students in the province started another school year in a brand-new school, built for them and thousands of future students.

One year ago, we celebrated the completion of 18 new joint-use schools that will provide space for more than 11,000 students and remain in like-new condition for the next 30 years, thanks to our government’s innovative P3 contracts.

Two more schools will be built using traditional methods, contributing to the $1.6 billion our government has invested in education infrastructure. This includes 40 new schools and 25 major school renovations. Using both P3 and traditional models, our government will continue to support our education system and our students by using the model that makes the most sense with each new project.

Our commitment to modernizing healthcare infrastructure has resulted in an investment of approximately $1.5 billion. This includes the completion of two new hospitals, 14 long-term care facilities, and ongoing capital for the construction of two additional hospitals.

We are now nearing completion of the new provincial psychiatric hospital in North Battleford. The facility will be among the most innovative mental health treatment centres in the country and ensure those facing significant mental health needs receive the best treatment available. Through a phased-in approach, 188 mental health beds will be available to deliver mental health care and support and an adjoining correctional facility will provide 96 beds for offenders living with mental health challenges.

The new long-term care facility in Swift Current and Saskatchewan Hospital North Battleford both used a P3 model, allowing us to save more than $100 million throughout the life of these two contracts – money that instead can be invested in other projects to improve frontline services.

This year, SaskTel expanded its High-Speed Fusion Internet to 35 additional rural locations in the province, completing Phase 1 of our government’s plan to provide communities with enhanced access to high-speed internet services.

As part of Phase 2 of this plan, SaskTel is working to improve 4G LTE cellular services in 100 rural Saskatchewan communities through the deployment of a small cell site solution, with the first 50 communities expected to be complete in the spring.

Our government is moving to a single procurement service for the nearly $2 billion worth of goods and services procured every year. This is estimated to result in significant savings thanks to increased coordination, while ensuring the best value for taxpayers and fair treatment for Saskatchewan suppliers.

I am also pleased to say that Saskatchewan recently signed a bilateral agreement with the Government of Canada to provide nearly $900 million for infrastructure projects over the next decade. This agreement will result in long-term infrastructure investments that will create jobs and enhance the quality of life for people around the province.