Report from the Legislature – October 19, 2023

Our government, in partnership with the Office of the Treaty Commissioner, recently unveiled a series of new highway signs to be placed in the Estevan, Moosomin, Lanigan and La Ronge areas to highlight Treaty boundaries. Thousands of daily commuters and tourists will see these signs on their driving routes, which can help start and continue important conversations about Treaties in Saskatchewan.

These new signs are similar to the historic, first-of-their-kind ones placed last fall on the Treaty 4 and Treaty 6 boundary line along Highway 11 between Saskatoon and Regina. The signs each include greetings in Indigenous languages specific to their locations, the phrase representing the spirit and intent of the Treaties as long as the sun shines, grass grows, and rivers flow, and images of the Treaty medals provided to First Nations following the Treaty negotiations.

These signs are a symbol of our government’s continuing reconciliation journey and ongoing work to support Treaty education initiatives in Saskatchewan. Our government is proud to continue this work in partnership with the Office of the Treaty Commissioner on our ongoing path to reconciliation.

Saskatchewan recognizes October 15-21 as Small Business Week, a week for celebrating the important contributions small businesses make to the economy. Did you know that more than 30 per cent of all workers in the province work for a small business? The products, services and jobs that small businesses provide help to build and protect Saskatchewan’s growing economy.

October 15-21 is also Co-operatives Week, recognizing the positive contributions that local co-operatives make in ensuring our communities can continue to grow. Co-operatives are vital to Saskatchewan’s economy and continue to provide essential jobs, products and services in communities of all sizes. Along with investing profits back into the province, Saskatchewan’s 750 co-operatives provide approximately 15,000 jobs across sectors, and 56 per cent of Saskatchewan residents are members of at least one! Our government values co-operatives and the role they play in helping us grow our province’s economy.

Our government continues to get good news on the provincial economy; our province’s wholesale trade leads the nation in month-over-month growth. From July to August of this year, our province saw a 12.4% increase, and a 57 per cent increase from August 2022 to August 2023.

Saskatchewan’s housing starts also lead the nation in year-over-year growth, with a 14.8 per cent increased from September 2022 to September 2023. These numbers show that our province’s economy continues to thrive, allowing us to continue building and protecting the province’s economic future.

Your Saskatchewan Party government continues to work to build and protect our provincial economy. Recently, Saskatchewan welcomed the Supreme Court of Canada’s 5-2 ruling against the federal government’s Impact Assessment Act (IAA), formerly Bill C-69. The IAA had stalled investment in everything from highway and mine projects to LNG facilities and pipelines. In the court ruling, the Supreme Court not only ruled that the federal government had overstepped constitutional authority, but also that the Trudeau government should be more “cooperative” with provinces in the future.

This decision is nothing short of a constitutional tipping point, and reasserts provinces’ rights and primary jurisdiction over natural resources, the environment and power generation. It should also force the federal government to reassess other areas of overreach, including capping oil and gas production and electrical generation. The policy has thwarted investment, competitiveness and productivity across the country; this major decision will correct course.

Saskatchewan, along with seven other provinces, was part of the constitutional intervention in this bill last March, arguing that the IAA had exceeded federal jurisdiction. Also in March, the provincial government passed the Saskatchewan First Act to counter the federal government’s attempts to interfere in matters of provincial jurisdiction. The Act came into effect on September 15, 2023 and will allow Saskatchewan to continue to build and protect our provincial economy.

As the fall sitting of the Legislature is now underway, I look forward to hearing from you.