Report from the Legislature- August 04, 2022

Just when Canadians should be coming together after two difficult years, the federal government is driving a wedge between east and west. In recent months, Trudeau’s Liberal minority government has made several decisions that will negatively impact Saskatchewan and Western Canada. We will always stand up against these divisive and damaging policies to ensure our province has sustainable growth for the future.

Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, our province has been helping those impacted by senseless violence. Saskatchewan residents and businesses have made donations, opened their communities and helped hire Ukrainians who have arrived in our province. We should be helping as many people as we can, but Ottawa has diverted flights with newcomers away from Saskatchewan with no explanation. With the help of philanthropist Enrique Pineyro, our government organized a private flight to assist those who wanted to get to our province. A second humanitarian flight is being organized this month out of Warsaw.

We have the jobs and the capacity to assist these new residents, all while supporting a growing province. We know our province’s needs and the labour market better than the Government of Canada. Their current approach does not align with the direction of Saskatchewan’s growth.

To address our economic needs and gaps in the labour market, we need more autonomy and flexibility with immigration. With that in mind, our government has put forward a detailed proposal to give Saskatchewan similar authority over immigration as the Province of Quebec. Under the Quebec Accord, Ottawa reviews immigrants only based on national security concerns. Quebec then selects the applicants destined for that province.

Saskatchewan is asking for the same rights so that our province is not limited to applicants who fit into economic categories deemed important by the federal government. We should also not be limited by caps on provincial nominee programs that Ottawa sets out. Saskatchewan will likely exceed our cap of 6,000 people under the Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program. Without an increase, international recruitment of employees will be delayed. A proportionate share of national immigration, as contemplated in the Saskatchewan Immigration Accord, would see, at minimum, 13,000 positions allocated to the province in 2022.

A Saskatchewan Accord similar to the Quebec Accord will enable our immigration strategy to meet the needs of Saskatchewan employers and improve the outcomes for our new neighbours. It could also speed up the process with current wait times reaching 40 months, something our province could help with. Currently, it takes Saskatchewan two to six weeks to process a request on the selection side.

Waiting on the sidelines to cause additional issues are the newly announced federal government’s fertilizer emission reduction targets. This arbitrary goal wasn’t even on the agenda when provincial and federal agriculture leaders met in July, yet the announcement came just days later. Provinces tried to push Ottawa to have a conversation about the targets but were disappointed to learn they were already set.

4R Nutrient Stewardship is a made-in-Canada approach that promotes environmental stewardship through best practices in science-based nutrient management. This innovative partnership is an example of government, industry and farmers working together to achieve better environmental outcomes without reducing much-needed food production. Western Canada already accounts for almost all of the acres under 4R management in Canada. Saskatchewan farmers are stewards of the land, already producing the most sustainable agri-food products in the world. Our producers are being asked to supply the world with the food it needs but are being told to do it with less.

Saskatchewan is leading the nation in economic growth despite the roadblocks put up by the Trudeau minority government, supported by the NDP. We have the food, fuel, energy and jobs the world wants, and our government will continue to stand up against federal intrusion