Warren Kaeding MLA, Report from the Legislature May 2017

May 15, 2017

As our government works to meet the challenge of persistently low commodity prices, our economy is growing stronger. This week we learned that Saskatchewan’s diversified economy has produced the strongest wholesale sales growth in all of Canada.

Saskatchewan’s wholesale trade numbers for February build on two consecutive months of job growth, as well as strong manufacturing, retail and new vehicle sales, increased building permits, housing starts, capital investment, and continued population growth.

Oil drilling doubled in the last quarter – a positive sign after Saskatchewan added another 2,000 jobs in the latest Statistics Canada report.

Mosaic Esterhazy has reported that recent potash sales are in the $100/t range higher than the lows of last year - like oil another positive sign. The new K3 shaft reached potash at the depth of 3350 ft.

Saskatchewan manufacturing exports are up 23 per cent year-over-year, leading the west, second best among the provinces, and significantly higher than the national average.

Brandt’s Manufacturing expansion to Saskatoon, G3’s new grain elevators (one in Melville), and Grain Millers expanding its plant in Yorkton, all speak to the strength of our economy.

Saskatchewan parents and students expressed concern after a recent court ruling that stated the government can no longer provide funding for non-Catholics to attend a Catholic school.

Our government is focused on students and families.

The 12-year case that led to this ruling started when a public-school board took a catholic school board to court, costing Saskatchewan taxpayers millions of dollars. These resources belong in the classroom and it is unfortunate they wound up in the courtroom. The government will protect school choice by invoking the notwithstanding clause of The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms in response to a Court of Queen’s Bench ruling that would force about 10,000 non-Catholic students out of Catholic schools. The ruling could also risk provincial funding of 26 other faith-based schools including Luther College, Regina Christian School, Saskatoon Christian School and Huda School.

We have always said that we would be the kind of government that admits its mistakes and works to fix them. There were many necessary, difficult decisions taken in this year’s budget, but the changes to library funding without giving libraries the tools to meet the new challenge was a mistake.

We announced the restoration of library funding as well as a consultative review with libraries and municipalities to determine the way forward in terms of what is sustainable for library users and communities while maintaining a commitment to fiscal responsibility.

One point to remember is that 75% of the total annual Provincial Budget is now being spent on three areas - Health, Education and Social Services (Social Services was increased by 6.85%). That leaves only 25% to run everything else.

Be sure to check out Sask Made Marketplace online. Hundreds of quality Sask Made products by Saskatchewan entrepreneurs.