Report from the Legislature – July 25, 2019


July has been a busy month with Saskatchewan playing host to the Council of the Federation, an annual summer gathering of Canada’s Premiers, as well as the 29th Pacific NorthWest Economic Region (PNWER) Annual Summit in Saskatoon.

The Council of the Federation was an opportunity to work on removing barriers to internal trade, advance access to international markets, labour mobility and immigration. Priorities at this gathering also included strategic infrastructure investment, climate change policy, healthcare sustainability, and mental health and addiction services.

PNWER, a non-partisan, private/public non-profit organization created to advance common interests of its member jurisdictions, brought over 400 provincial and state legislators and private sector representatives to Saskatchewan to address a range of issues impacting and of interest to the regional cross-border economy.

Trade, transportation and a fair tax and regulatory environment were key themes at both of these events. These are the 3 Ts Saskatchewan industries require to succeed.

The U.S. is Saskatchewan’s most important trading partner with 84 per cent of our imports coming from the United States. This includes consumer items but also bringing products to operate our key industries like mining, energy, manufacturing and agriculture – industries that in turn produce an exportable product that often times will head south again to have value added to it before it’s headed off to the world.

While Saskatchewan’s economy continues to grow and evolve, our fortunes depend on market access and our market relationships around the world.

As it stands now, Saskatchewan trades $30 billion worth of goods and does business with about 150 different countries each year. We need to work to maintain and build upon those relationships, and we need a tax and regulatory environment that’s competitive. We need transportation ability to move the goods that we produce, harvest and manufacture, and we need trade agreements with countries around the world.

Since the United States is one of Saskatchewan’s biggest trading partners, PNWER’s work on trade is critical to our province’s economic success. Many of PNWER’s current initiatives, such as its work on energy and the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), align with Saskatchewan’s goals and priorities.

Leaders at the summit discussed the USMCA, Indigenous economic development in the Northwest, climate policy, energy innovation and resilience, water policy, invasive species and advances in agriculture technology and livestock health planning.

Hosting both the Council of the Federation and PNWER, provided Saskatchewan with a tremendous opportunity to showcase our competitive business climate and diverse resource sectors, advance our shared interests, and to continue to build strong relationships with our partners.