A new session of the Saskatchewan Legislative Assembly opened today (October 26) with the Speech from the Throne, delivered by Lieutenant Governor Russ Mirasty.
Premier Scott Moe said Saskatchewan is currently enjoying record new investment and is leading the country in economic growth, while the province’s population is on track to reach 1.2 million people this year.
“Our government’s goal is to ensure that strong growth continues and that it’s growth that works for everyone,” Moe said. “That means reinvesting in health, education and affordability measures, paying down debt, and defending our economic autonomy so Saskatchewan continues to grow and create jobs.”
The speech cited recent examples of growth that works for everyone, like the affordability plan announced in August and the new Health Human Resources Action Plan to add 1,000 health care workers in Saskatchewan, announced in September.
Projects and initiatives outlined in the Throne Speech include:
- a new in-patient joint replacement facility in Regina, expected to begin operations by the end of 2023;
- signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with Ahtahkakoop Cree Nation for a new Saskatoon Urgent Care Centre;
- creation of 200 new Educational Assistant positions in school classrooms;
- creation of a new centralized online learning model to ensure all students can enroll in any course offered in the province, regardless of where they live;
- funding for the Dene Teacher Education Program at the First Nations University of Canada and for scholarships for up to 25 students to study Indigenous languages;
- continuing work on the Saskatchewan Polytechnic’s Saskatoon Campus Renewal Project, expected to be located in the vicinity of the University of Saskatchewan and Innovation Place;
- signing of the Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership, along with the federal government and all provinces and territories;
- increased veterinary training seats;
- opening of a Saskatchewan new trade office in Germany, joining trade offices in eight other countries that do significant business with Saskatchewan;
- continued support for nearly 2,000 Ukrainians displaced by the Russian invasion, who now call Saskatchewan home;
- continued expansion of rural internet service by SaskTel;
- development of 700 more megawatts wind and solar power generation in south-central Saskatchewan by SaskPower;
- partnering on two First Nations solar projects;
- continued planning for small modular nuclear reactors, with Estevan and Elbow identified as potential sites;
- creation of a made-in-Saskatchewan carbon offset credit program;
- partnering with the Saskatoon Tribal Council and Regina Treaty/Status Indian Services on projects to address homelessness;
- introduction of The Accessible Saskatchewan Act to identify and remove accessibility barriers for those living with a disability;
- an increase of $7.5 million in the current year to the $10 million Creative Saskatchewan Feature Film and Television Grant Program, which is already fully subscribed on 13 film and television productions;
- legislation to allow municipalities to designate areas for safe consumption of alcohol in parks; and
- exiting the retail liquor market and expanding opportunities for independent retailers.
In this session, the government will also take steps to protect and defend Saskatchewan’s economic autonomy, industries and jobs from unwarranted federal intrusion and constitutional overreach. These include:
- introducing The Saskatchewan First Act, to clearly define and defend Saskatchewan’s exclusive jurisdiction over natural resources and its economic future within the Canadian Constitution;
- amending the province’s Constitution by amending The Saskatchewan Act to state that Saskatchewan continues to retain exclusive jurisdiction over its own natural resources;
- continuing to press for greater provincial control over immigration, as has long been guaranteed to Quebec; and
- introducing legislation enabling Saskatchewan to collect its own corporate income tax.
“These measures are about removing barriers to unlock Saskatchewan’s incredible economic potential,” Moe said. “We have everything the world needs – food, fuel, fertilizer and an ambitious and talented workforce. We just need to remove the barriers that are preventing us from sustainably developing our resources to their full potential and exporting them to markets around the world where they are needed.”
The Throne Speech also contains a number of measures to enhance public safety and reduce crime. These include:
- creation of the Saskatchewan Marshalls Service to work with the RCMP and other police services to enhance law enforcement throughout the province;
- adding eight new officers to the Warrant Enforcement and Suppression Team in Prince Albert;
- adding a new Crime Reduction Team in North Battleford;
- continuing discussions with the Prince Albert Grand Council and the federal government about the creation of a self-administered First Nations police services; and
- continuing to crack down on the illegal use of firearms while at the same time defending the rights of lawful and law-abiding gun owners.
The Throne Speech concludes by saying: “In a world plunged into uncertainty, Saskatchewan is a reliable, indispensable supplier of food, fuel and fertilizer to millions of people around the globe. My government is charting a course that ensures our economy continues to grow and that everyone in Saskatchewan benefits from that growth.
“More people, more jobs and more investment in government services. That’s growth that works for everyone.”