Report from the Legislature – May 20, 2021

The spring sitting of the legislature was highlighted by two things: a budget that protects, builds, and grows Saskatchewan, and a roadmap that charts a course through the end of the COVID-19 pandemic. Budget 2021-22 is designed to protect the health and safety of our people and our economy. It builds through investments in new long-term care facilities, hospitals, schools, highways, vital Crown capital and municipal infrastructure projects. It also grows the province through incentives and key investments, keeping life affordable for families.

This legislative session saw the government fulfill 14 of our commitments including restoring the Active Families Benefit; funding to hire new Continuing Care Aides; expansion of individualized funding for those on the Autism Spectrum; increasing the Seniors Income Plan; and reducing the financial cost for those living with diabetes. Highlights from our legislative and policy agenda include enhancing police oversight through the creation of a civilian-led and independent model; the lowest unemployment rate in Canada and leading the nation in month-to-month job growth; and our re-open roadmap with three steps for a gradual, measured approach to easing public health measures and getting life back to normal.

Our plan to get back to a growing economy and more jobs is already working.

Urban housing starts in the province increased 113.3 per cent year-over-year, the second highest percentage growth increase among the provinces. This growth has contributed significantly to the 8,700 new construction jobs in April compared to the previous year.

Manufacturing sales in Saskatchewan have also increased by nearly 30 per cent year-over-year, the second highest percentage growth increase in Canada.

I am proud to say that several companies have also announced large-scale economic projects right here in Saskatchewan. This includes Richardson International’s expansion to double capacity of a crush facility near Yorkton; Viterra’s intention to develop the world’s largest canola crushing facility; Cargill developing a new state-of-the-art canola processing facility; North American Helium Inc. opening the largest helium facility in Canada; and Saskatchewan Mining and Minerals Inc. significantly upgrading its sodium sulphate plant in Chaplin.

Saskatchewan has one of the most competitive business environments in all of Canada, and as we see with large private sector investments worth billions of dollars, our province is in an enviable position coming out of the pandemic.

While the work of the spring sitting is now complete, our government continues to fight for resource sector jobs in Saskatchewan and across North America. Saskatchewan will be filing an amicus brief in support of 21 States fighting President Biden’s decision to cancel the Keystone XL Pipeline. The cancellation will ultimately make the U.S. more dependent on rail for Canadian oil imports, which costs more, emits more greenhouse gases, and presents a larger risk to the environment.

While we have no desire to wade into American politics, we must take every opportunity we can to stand up for Saskatchewan’s economy.

Saskatchewan’s amicus brief will focus on the implications of the decision to cancel the Keystone XL Pipeline on Saskatchewan, its economy, and its people.

Thank you to everyone who is rolling up their sleeve to Stick It To COVID. Thanks to you, we now have a roadmap to re-open the province and we are well on our way. Please keep protecting yourselves and those around you by following the public health orders and – when it’s your turn – get vaccinated.