Report from the Legislature May 16, 2019
Saskatchewan’s economy is getting stronger. New employment numbers show that 14,200 new jobs were created in the province over the past year, and there were 18,000 more full-time jobs.
This spring’s provincial budget is the right balance for our strengthening economy. It increases supports for Saskatchewan people while managing spending to maintain economic growth and provide the services Saskatchewan people expect. The 2019 Saskatchewan Budget fulfills our government’s three-year plan to balance the budget with no new taxes or tax increases while boosting supports for mental health, classrooms and highway safety. It includes:
- A sustainable plan to ensure a balanced budget this year and for the years to come;
- Nearly $30 million more for targeted mental health and addictions funding;
- An increase of $26 million in operating funding for Saskatchewan school divisions;
- New tax credits for volunteer firefighters and first responders;
- Funding to begin a five-year Enhanced Intersection Safety Program for highway intersections; and
- A focus on infrastructure with funding for preconstruction design of a new Victoria Hospital for Prince Albert, planning for a new Weyburn hospital and continued funding for school consolidation projects in Weyburn and Rosthern.
During the spring sitting, our government passed multiple pieces of legislation, including:
- Changes to The Saskatchewan Employment Act creating a new critically ill adult leave, expanding parental leave and adding an additional week of maternity leave;
- Passing Clare’s Law which will allow police to release information about someone’s violent or abusive past to intimate partners whose safety may be at risk;
- Increasing the number of occupational diseases firefighters and volunteer firefighters are covered for through changes to The Workers’ Compensation Act;
- Legislation to allow rural municipalities, and other municipalities with populations under 500, to join regional police services;
- Legislation that better balances the rights of rural land owners and members of the public in accessing rural property; and
- Creating a paid job leave option for survivors of interpersonal and sexual violence to take up to five paid days and five unpaid days off to seek supports or services.
The spring sitting of the legislature saw your Saskatchewan Party government continue to stand up for Saskatchewan in the fight against the federal government’s carbon tax and push for help for canola farmers facing trade barriers with China.
In the coming months, we will keep Saskatchewan issues front and center here at home and in Ottawa. Your Saskatchewan Party government will keep standing up for Saskatchewan and will keep our economy strong. We will advocate for our industries that provide the means to keep Saskatchewan strong – and we will continue our opposition to the Trudeau Carbon Tax, which includes taking our fight all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada.
Now that the Spring Sitting of the Legislature is complete, I look forward to hearing from you – your thoughts, suggestions and feedback in terms of how we can best represent you and build on the growth of our community and province today and in the years ahead.
Moose Jaw Express May 15, 2019
The Start of Summer Memories
The May long weekend signifies the start of the summer outdoor recreational season throughout Saskatchewan.
Saskatchewan’s provincial Parks open for the 2019 season this Thursday, May 16. Our provincial parks provide great opportunities for a wide variety of outdoor activities. Campers can take in the fresh spring air, enjoy activities on the water, explore hiking trails as nature blooms, or relax with friends and family.
There was good news in April concerning our local Buffalo Pound Provincial Park. The Government of Saskatchewan announced funding for a new swimming pool for the park. The old one was irreparable and demolished last fall. While there will not be a public pool in place this summer, construction of the new pool complex will begin soon and continue through fall and early winter.
The new swimming pool at Buffalo Pound provincial park is being designed to meet the needs of a wide range of users. The facility will include a sloped accessible entry for young children or anyone with mobility concerns. The deeper portion of the pool will accommodate lane swimming and swimming lessons. A new change-house and a building containing mechanical systems and admission services will be added. Some existing facilities will be re-purposed, which will result in cost savings to the project.
Summer family activities make for some of our most treasured memories. Good safety practices can make a difference in the kind of memories we will have at the end of the holiday season. To increase safety for everyone using the provincial parks this coming long weekend, an alcohol ban will apply in all campgrounds and picnic areas within provincial parks and recreation sites. The same rules also apply to Cannabis use in in parks this weekend as well.
Summer always seems too short in Saskatchewan, so we try to pack a lot into our few warm months. There is so much going on besides recreation; building construction, highway construction, and farming and ranching activity. It takes a concentrated effort to pay attention to safety in all areas.
When enjoying the outdoors, protection from the sun and insects will make for a more enjoyable time. Boating and water safety can’t be emphasized enough. Statistics indicate young children ages 1 to 4 and men ages 15 to 44 are at the greatest risk of drowning. The absence of effective adult supervision is a factor in 75 per cent of deaths by drowning for children under the age of 10. There is no safe way to mix alcohol and drugs with boating. Every year hundreds of people die as a result of boating-related activities. Almost 65% of these deaths involve the use of alcohol.
SaskPower reminds farm and construction machinery operators to “Look Up and Live”. Plan work in advance, lower equipment and use a spotter to prevent contact with overhead power lines. In May of last year, there were 154 reports of farm machinery coming in contact with electrical equipment. Safety initiatives should help to reduce the number of incidents in 2019.
The highways will be busy this long weekend. This year, the province will invest more than $350 million to upgrade about 1,000 km of highways across Saskatchewan. This includes intersection safety improvements at Highway 1 and the Mosaic potash mine and passing lanes on Highway 2 between Moose Jaw and Chamberlain. For the safety of our highway construction workers, and for your own safety, you are encouraged to slow down to 60 km/h in construction zones. Remember safety, and be aware that speeding fines triple in construction zones.
Enjoy the start of the summer season, be careful, stay safe and make some good memories.
Report from the Legislature May 9, 2019
For myself and my colleagues, the Spring Sitting of the Legislature has been a busy season of representing our constituents and constituencies, proposing ideas, engaging in debate and passing legislation to improve the lives of Saskatchewan people.
The Government of Saskatchewan is passing legislation that better balances the rights of rural land owners and members of the public. Most notably, it moves the onus of responsibility from rural land owners to individuals seeking to access their property. Under the new legislation, those wishing to access a rural land owner’s property for recreational purposes will need to first gain access from the land owner. Land owners will be able to provide consent for activities on their land through posted signs. We believe this will promote communication with rural land owners, while still giving Saskatchewan people the opportunity to take advantage of our rural landscapes for outdoor activities such as hunting, fishing, snowmobiling and hiking. The legislation will come into force after the necessary regulations are developed.
Innovation Saskatchewan is working with the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities to develop a technological solution to promote contact between land owners and those seeking access to private property. The Innovation Challenge will select a successful applicant to develop their solution over a 16-week residency period.
One of the highlights of the 2019 Provincial Budget is our government’s record investment in mental health and addictions services. Recently, we announced that Saskatchewan paramedics and other first responders will benefit from $250,000 in funding for mental health and addictions programming. EMS providers and volunteer medical first responders are on the frontlines of medical care and are exposed to a high number of stressful situations. This funding will help to set up supports that best address their mental health needs.
From market access and equalization to pipelines and the carbon tax, your Saskatchewan Party government is standing up for Saskatchewan. We are standing up to protect and open market access for Saskatchewan exports; to fix Canada’s flawed Equalization program; and against harmful federal government policies, like Bills C-48 and C-69, which threaten industries and families in our province.
While we are disappointed with the recent ruling at the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal, we will continue to stand up on behalf of the people across our province who are opposed to the federal government’s ineffective, job-killing carbon tax. The Court of Appeal ruling was a 3-2 split decision. Two judges provided a detailed, dissenting opinion that the carbon tax is unconstitutional. There are strong grounds for an appeal and we look to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada. We are grateful for all of the organizations and the provinces that intervened in this case on Saskatchewan’s side, and we are grateful for Saskatchewan Justice and our two outstanding constitutional lawyers who presented Saskatchewan’s case.
Meanwhile, other provinces are also proceeding with their own court challenges. Saskatchewan plans to intervene in each of these cases.
The Trudeau carbon tax is bad economic policy; it is bad environmental policy; and our government’s fight against it will continue. Our province already has a plan – a Prairie Resilience plan – to fight climate change; to reduce emissions; and to do it without a carbon tax.
The NDP has called our fight against the carbon tax “a pointless crusade”. Their leader even said they “applaud” the Trudeau carbon tax. These comments prove that the NDP is out of touch with Saskatchewan.
I want to thank small business owners, farmers, energy sector workers, and all hard-working families for their support as we continue this fight.