Report from the Legislature – May 18, 2023

As the wildfire situation continues to develop in northern Saskatchewan, we are thinking of all the communities that are going through an incredibly challenging time.

The provincial command has been activated through Saskatchewan Public Safety’s Provincial Emergency Operations Centre (PEOC) to assist in wildfire response. The PEOC will provide a central point to co-ordinate the operational response of provincial government ministries, agencies and Crown corporations. Representatives will provide daily technical briefings to the media as the wildfire situation evolves.

The Saskatchewan Public Safety Agency (SPSA) is ensuring food and fuel are accessible to northern communities by escorting delivery trucks on roads and highways that are currently closed due to fires.

A fire ban has been issued for all Crown lands, provincial parks and the Northern Saskatchewan Administrative District north of Highway 16. Many municipalities also have fire bans in place.

Thank you to all the first responders, volunteers and those working tirelessly to combat these wildfires and keep people safe. To keep up with the latest fire risks and bans, please visit Residents seeking information about fire bans or evacuations are asked to call the wildfire inquiry line at 1-855-559-5502.

The spring sitting of the Legislature is now complete. Our government passed several bills that will continue our work, creating growth in our province. This spring, the Government of Saskatchewan passed The Saskatchewan First Act. This legislation amends the Constitution of Saskatchewan to clearly confirm our autonomy and assert the province’s exclusive legislative jurisdiction over the exploration, development and management of non-renewable natural resources, forestry resources and the generation and production of electricity.

Our government announced Saskatchewan’s plan for electricity generation to 2035 and beyond. This plan commits to achieving net-zero by 2050 with an energy mix that ensures reliable baseload power and affordable customer rates. This includes using existing natural gas plant assets to the end of life and working toward small modular reactors, while continuing to expand intermittent power sources, such as wind and solar.

This plan will ensure Saskatchewan’s electrical generation is reliable, affordable, sustainable and achievable. Our government will not drive up SaskPower rates for Saskatchewan families to reach the federal government’s arbitrary 2035 target.

As we move into the summer, you will see work continue on several projects laid out in this year’s record $3.7 billion capital budget. These projects will ensure we have the schools, hospitals and highways our growing province needs.

Ground was recently broken on the new joint-use school in Moose Jaw. The new kindergarten – grade 12 school in Blaine Lake is on track to be finished by September of this year, and the kindergarten – grade 12 school in Carrot River will open in 2024. Expansions and renovations at Holy Rosary High School in Lloydminster, Lloydminster Comprehensive High School, John Paul II Collegiate in North Battleford, and Yorkton Regional High School will be completed by this fall. The replacement and consolidation of Argyle School and Ecole St. Pius X School in Regina will also be completed by this fall. In addition, work will begin this fiscal year on a new kindergarten – grade 12 school in Lanigan, new elementary schools in Regina and Saskatoon, and a new elementary school to replace Francis Cree Immersion School in Saskatoon.

In the coming weeks, the ground will be broken on the Weyburn General Hospital project, and site preparation will continue on the Prince Albert Victoria Hospital project. The Urgent Care Centre in Regina is halfway complete and will open early next year, and a location has been chosen for the Saskatoon Urgent Care Centre in partnership with Ahtahkakoop Cree Developments. Other notable investments will see construction begin later this fiscal year on new long-term care centres in Grenfell and La Ronge and the new parkade at the Regina General Hospital.

Construction on our provincial highways is also in full swing; travellers are reminded to keep an eye out for construction zones and slow down to ensure everyone’s safety. Our government has plans to improve 1,000 kilometres (km) of highways this year, for a total of 4,600 km of highways improved over the last four years.

Investments in this year’s budget will lay the foundation for further growth throughout the province. Now that the spring sitting of the Legislature is complete, I look forward to connecting with you around the constituency at events throughout the summer. Your thoughts, suggestions and feedback are valuable to me as we continue to build on Saskatchewan’s growth.