Report from the Legislature – January 17, 2019

Saskatchewan is off to a strong start in 2019.

Despite challenging world resource prices and national headwinds, Saskatchewan pulled through and created nearly 11,000 new jobs this past year.

Our province has seen strong job gains for the fifth month in a row, and it’s particularly encouraging to see significant growth in full-time employment.

Mosaic recently signed an agreement with China’s largest agricultural inputs company to buy even more Saskatchewan potash. Meanwhile, Husky has announced a new SAGD project in Spruce Lake using industry-leading thermal extraction processes to recover heavy oil and reduce emissions. Both projects are great news for Saskatchewan’s resource industries.

The start of another new year brings growing opposition to federal government policies that are hurting our resource sector in Saskatchewan. In fact, hundreds of people recently braved bitterly cold conditions to participate in a Rally for Resources at the Legislative Building in Regina. Those in attendance voiced their support for greater market access for Western Canadian oil.

Addressing the root cause of the current energy crisis won’t happen until market access is enhanced and investor confidence is restored. Your Saskatchewan Party government is standing up for Saskatchewan by fighting the imposition of a carbon tax, Bills C-69 and C-48, and calling on the federal government to build pipelines so our energy sector can regain certainty and receive fair value for Canadian resources.

Without new pipeline capacity, demand for rail transportation will continue increasing to record levels, which will increase transportation costs for Western Canadian oil producers as well as all other rail-dependent industries, such as mining and agriculture.

Unless pipeline access to Canadian tidewater ports can be secured, producers will be forced to continue to sell into a glutted United States market that routinely prices Canadian oil at a significant discount to the world price.

A lack of market access leads to price discounts that are estimated to cost Saskatchewan’s oil producers billions of dollars in revenues per year, and cost the Government of Saskatchewan hundreds of millions in lost royalties.

This has to change.

While the federal government has promised to force a carbon tax on Saskatchewan in 2019, our government will be fighting back in the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal. Our constitutional court challenge of the federal carbon tax will be heard next month.

Saskatchewan is starting the new year from a position of strength with a growing population, a growing number of jobs, and a 3-year plan that remains on track to balance the budget. In 2019, we will continue to stand up for our province’s economy and resource sector in order to maintain and build on the quality of life Saskatchewan people expect and deserve.