(20 May 2015)
Spring Sitting Focused on Keeping the Economy Strong
Saskatchewan's economy has proven to be very resilient despite a slowdown in the oil sector caused by falling crude oil prices. With another 7,700 more people working and 19 consecutive months of the lowest unemployment rate in Canada – it is clear Saskatchewan’s economy is strong.
The spring sitting of the Saskatchewan Legislature was all about keeping Saskatchewan’s economy strong and growing. The highlight was the introduction of a balanced budget that controls government spending and makes record investments in infrastructure, without raising any taxes.
We’ve seen what happens when previous governments raised taxes and stopped investing. Businesses stopped creating new jobs and people left. We're never going to go back to that. We’re committed to sound financial management, low taxes and investments in highways, schools and hospitals.
The spring sitting also included several important announcements, such as the $1.7 billion mine expansion by Mosaic, a $200 million expansion by Evraz and a new deal for Cameco to sell 3,000 tonnes of uranium to India. This will mean increased exports, more jobs and a stronger Saskatchewan.
Government of Saskatchewan Encourages U.S. to Repeal COOL
Our government welcomes the World Trade Organization (WTO) compliance panel’s final decision on Country of Origin Labelling (COOL). On Monday, May 18, 2015, the WTO again ruled in Canada’s favour urging the United States to comply with the WTO rules.
COOL does not address the best interest of the public and it unfairly discriminates against Canadian cattle and hog exports. Since it was introduced in 2008, Canada’s industry has estimated damages in excess of $1 billion a year due to price declines, lost sales and added costs.
This final ruling gives Canada permission to impose trade retaliations should the U.S. not comply with the ruling. Saskatchewan will continue to support the federal government in pursuing retaliatory tariffs. COOL is unjustifiable discrimination and we are encouraging the United States to recognize this so we can move forward as unified trade partners.
Buy Local Proclamation
The Government of Saskatchewan has proclaimed the first Saturday of every month as Buy Local Day. This is to encourage people to shop local – thereby supporting businesses and jobs in communities across the province. The first Saturday to be proclaimed Buy Local Day will be June 6, 2015.
Local businesses are the foundation of our strong Saskatchewan economy. Our government is supportive of entrepreneurs and small businesses, and is committed to creating a positive business climate with initiatives such as reducing the Small Business Income Tax rate.
By keeping taxes low, balancing budgets and reducing red tape, our government is ensuring that local businesses are able to grow, create jobs and continue to offer quality goods and services.
Students Can Now Receive High School and Early Childhood Educator Dual Credit
The Government of Saskatchewan has expanded its dual credit partnership with Saskatchewan Polytechnic to offer high school students three more courses that will be recognized as a credit toward both high school graduation and an Early Childhood Education certificate or diploma.
Starting in September, students can receive high school credit for Interpersonal Communications; Health, Safety and Nutrition; and Role of Play in Early Childhood Education courses. All three courses will be available through distance education options with Saskatchewan Polytechnic.
This partnership reinforces our student first approach and provides students an opportunity to start building a career while they complete high school. By successfully completing all three courses, students will be eligible for the Ministry of Education’s Early Childhood Educator 1 certification, the entry level for allowing them to work full-time at one of the province’s 301 licensed child care centres.
Provincial Parks Ready for Busy Summer
After a record-setting campsite reservation launch, SaskParks is expecting another busy season. As places to relax, unwind and reconnect with family, friends and nature, our parks – which are now open for the season – continue to grow in popularity each year.
Funding for capital projects and upgrades in provincial parks will total $14.6 million this year, meeting our government’s commitment to invest an additional $10 million on expense and growth opportunities over four years. Capital investments including campground electrical expansion, service and visitor centre replacements, and water system upgrades will be undertaken this year.
Details on specific projects will be announced throughout the summer. Several projects that were started last year will be completed this spring and available for use by park visitors. These include a new potable water system at Saskatchewan Landing Provincial Park and a new, 68-site, full-service campground at Greenwater Lake Provincial Park that will open later this summer.
If you have a question about this Legislative Report or any other matter, just Contact Lyle.
Past Legislative Reports