Report from the Legislature – May 02, 2019

The Spring Sitting of the Saskatchewan Legislature continues with debate and legislation, as well as enhanced programs and services as part of a balanced budget. Your Saskatchewan Party government also continues to stand up for Saskatchewan.

This week the Senate committee on Bill C-48, the federal government’s Oil Tanker Ban, came to Regina and heard our government’s position on this proposed legislation, the double standard it creates between East & West, and why it is bad policy. The Oil Tanker Ban is part of a broader issue of not getting Canadian oil to tidewater, which hurts Saskatchewan’s economy and social investments. Senators have an opportunity to prevent this legislation from passing, and we encourage them to do just that.

In light of trade restrictions in China, we were pleased to see the federal government has largely adopted our plan to provide relief for Canada’s canola producers. This includes access to an expanded Advanced Payment Program and an extended AgriStability deadline. These are steps in the right direction.

While we look forward to participating in trade missions to Japan and South Korea to secure new markets for our world-class canola, we need to regain certainty in China. The federal government must continue to actively engage on scientific and diplomatic levels to find a resolution and restore access to one of our largest markets.

Saskatchewan is now one step closer to becoming the first province in Canada to implement “Clare’s Law.” The Interpersonal Violence Disclosure Protocol (Clare’s Law) Act has received third reading in the legislature. The Act will come into force after the disclosure protocol and regulations are established.

The Act will allow police to release information about someone’s violent or abusive past to intimate partners whose safety may be threatened.

We are working hard to get this legislation in place to help people who may be at risk in an intimate relationship. Over the summer, our government will collaborate with partners in law enforcement and the shelter community to develop the protocol and regulations.

It creates a framework and standard process for the disclosure of information to applicants who believe they may be at risk from an intimate partner (“right to ask”), and to persons identified by police to be at risk (“right to know”).

“Clare’s Law” was implemented across England and Wales in March 2014.  It is named in honour of Clare Wood, who was murdered by her partner and unaware of his violent past.

May is Speech and Hearing Awareness Month, and fittingly, our government has announced that the Universal Newborn Hearing Screening Program will be expanding. Newborn babies will now be screened for early signs of hearing loss in all 18 Saskatchewan hospitals that regularly deliver babies.

Communities that offer the newborn hearing screening program now include: Estevan, Fort Qu’Appelle, Humboldt, Kindersley, La Ronge, Lloydminster, Meadow Lake, Melfort, Moose Jaw, Moosomin, Nipawin, North Battleford, Regina, Rosetown, Saskatoon, Swift Current, Yorkton, and Prince Albert.

Our government’s investment in the Universal Newborn Hearing Screening Program will ensure that children born in Saskatchewan with hearing loss are identified early. This is crucial in eliminating linguistic delays, and will help us make sure that the proper supports can be put into place to help those children succeed.