Legislative Report (20 December 2007)

Successful Fall Session for New SP Government

NDP Admits to Misusing Taxpayers’ Money

The Star Phoenix headline said it all: “NDP admits health ads prior to the election were political.” Documents released by the Saskatchewan Party government this week revealed that the former NDP Health Minister and Executive Council ordered the Department of Health to spend $1.1 million of taxpayers’ money on feel-good advertising to enhance the NDP’s image on the eve of an election. What’s worse is that the $1.1 million was unbudgeted and the department was asked to simply absorb the costs.

The NDP ran the ads to disguise the fact that under their government, Saskatchewan had the longest surgical wait times in the country. Premier Brad Wall told reporters, “The NDP party should have been paying for those ads or the NDP should have been using media events or the legislative assembly to make that case, not taxpayers’ money.”

This is simply unacceptable to the Saskatchewan Party government. Our new legislation on fixed election dates will help prevent such misuse of your money. The Saskatchewan Party government believes taxpayers deserve to have their money repaid by the NDP.

Growth and Opportunity

It was just announced that the population of Saskatchewan has again reached one million – a number our province hasn’t seen since 2001. In addition to this great news for Saskatchewan, our province now has the most optimistic business outlook in the country, despite the decrease in nation-wide business expectations. With an increased population, record sales of crown petroleum and gas rights, a skyrocketing housing market, and increased jobs, the new Saskatchewan Party government is ready to build on Saskatchewan’s recent economic momentum. As Premier Wall said, “More and more people are discovering what so many of us already knew - that Saskatchewan is the best province in the best country in the world.”

New Legislation

This week, the Saskatchewan Party government introduced a number of innovative and sensible pieces of legislation.

The Enterprise Saskatchewan Act sets the stage for a new approach to economic development in the province. The legislation will enable the establishment of Enterprise Saskatchewan – a new public-private partnership governed by a 12-member Board made up of a broad cross-section of stakeholders and leaders. Sector teams will also be established to review specific areas of the economy and identify barriers to growth. According to Enterprise and Innovation Minister Lyle Stewart, “This new agency will embody a co-operative approach to economic development, one that will ensure that all stakeholders in our economy have a chance to share ideas, identify opportunities and challenges, and build strong relationships between government and business.”

The Potash Development Repeal Act was introduced this week to send a strong signal to investors across Canada and around the globe. There was an act on the books that gave the province the power to expropriate private assets in the potash sector and the Potash Development Repeal Act will get rid of these antiquated, inappropriate and unnecessary powers.

Finally, amendments to The Legislative Assembly and Executive Council Act will establish fixed election dates in Saskatchewan and will take the political gamesmanship out of calling an election. This is yet another promise kept by our government.

Historic First Nations at the Legislature

For the first time in Saskatchewan’s history, an aboriginal celebratory feast was held in the Legislative Building. This event was initiated by the Saskatchewan Party government to show our commitment in strengthening the partnership with First Nations people. Based on cultural awareness and mutual respect, our government intends to build a long-lasting and strong relationship with the aboriginal community. The feast was well attended. Guests included the Premier, Cabinet Ministers, MLAs, community members, First Nations Chiefs and Elders from all over Saskatchewan.

Rural Areas

The Saskatchewan Party government is working to help rural constituents across Saskatchewan. This commitment has been demonstrated through an increase in services to many rural areas across the province. This includes upgrades in SaskTel internet and mobility services in a number of rural areas.

The Livestock Loan Guarantee (LLG) program is another example of how your government is committed to helping rural constituents. The government will provide livestock breeders within the program the option to apply for an extension of their principle payment. This program will allow livestock producers to have more cash flow flexibility in their time of financial need.

Urban Areas

The Saskatchewan Party government is also introducing initiatives to help lower income residents in Regina and Saskatoon. Our new government has renewed the discount bus pass program in the province’s two largest cities and will pay $18 dollars towards each pass sold to eligible low income residents. This is a 50 percent increase over the previous provincial subsidy.

Saskatchewan is a province with more potential than ever before. Your Saskatchewan Party government will continue to produce innovative and sensible legislation that will have a positive impact on the lives of all Saskatchewan people. Ours is a government with a clear focus and one that will live up to our commitments.

Our government would like to wish people across this province a Merry Christmas, a safe and happy holiday season, and all the best wishes for the New Year.

If you have a question about this or any other matter, just Contact Lyle.

Past Legislative Reports