The Saskatchewan Legislature is back in session. We are on track to deliver a balanced budget and committed to keep standing up for Saskatchewan, defending jobs and families across our great province.
The economic outlook for Saskatchewan is strong. Jobs are up, unemployment is down and exports are expected to increase. Saskatchewan’s GDP growth is expected to be higher than the national average, and the highest in the prairies. The Conference Board of Canada believes our agriculture, oil, and potash sectors will drive this growth.
Saskatchewan is also the most attractive place in Canada for mining investment according to the Fraser Institute’s Annual Survey of Mining Companies. The survey found that Saskatchewan is the world’s 3rd most attractive jurisdiction for mining investment and has moved into the top spot in terms of government policy. We’re going to keep working to ensure our world class mining sector creates even more opportunity for generations to come.
Right now, much of Saskatchewan’s growth and opportunity is at risk with a forced federal carbon tax, Bill C-69, and a lack of market access for our export products. Bill C-69, for example, will not accomplish its stated goals of streamlining or efficiency in getting resource projects built. It will only add uncertainty and further delays. The current system is not broken – what seems to be broken is political will and pride in the resource sector that Canada is known for.
While we await a decision on our government’s court challenge of the federal carbon tax, the Trudeau government will be forcing the tax on Saskatchewan. The federal government should stop its forced carbon tax until the courts have had their say but they won’t. Starting April 1, the cost of the federal carbon tax is going to make it more expensive to gas up our vehicles, heat our homes and keep the lights on.
This is unfortunate for families and businesses across our province. SaskPower worked hard to ensure there would be no rate increase this year, and our government is currently reviewing a request by SaskEnergy to reduce natural gas commodity rates to their lowest level in 20 years, effective April 1. These savings would be wiped out by the Trudeau carbon tax.
Our government has been clear from the start: our made-in-Saskatchewan plan will achieve real emissions reductions, while the Trudeau carbon tax, with its multi-year increases, will only impose costs on families with virtually no impact on emissions.
Meanwhile, the NDP continues to demonstrate how truly out of touch they are with the people of our province. On February 12, the Leader of the Opposition said “our position is very clear…we think that a price on pollution is a reasonable thing.” This is a change in terminology for the NDP who are now shifting their language on a carbon tax to “a price on pollution”, just like Prime Minister Trudeau has. The NDP is standing with Prime Minister Trudeau in support of a carbon tax that would be a hit to Saskatchewan jobs and a $16 billion hit to our GDP. This is clearly out of touch with Saskatchewan and its residents.
Our government will continue to stand up for Saskatchewan and stand up against the Trudeau carbon tax. We will continue voicing Saskatchewan’s concerns with this and other federal headwinds that would cause harm to our economic interests.