16 May 2013
Strong Record of Keeping Promises
Our government has a strong record of keeping promises – doing the things we said we would. We did it consistently during our first term, and continue to do so. I am happy to report that during the just-completed spring session of the Legislature, we honoured several commitments we made in our Growth Plan. We announced our sixth consecutive balanced budget – a budget that controlled spending while making important investments in health, education, infrastructure and support for people with disabilities
We remain committed to making Saskatchewan the best place in Canada to live for people with disabilities. During the spring session of the Legislature, we announced the elimination of the 440-person waitlist for people requiring specialized, residential, and/or day programs to meet their needs. In addition to serving all 440 people on the list, another 215 Community Living clients beyond the original waitlist have been served. This was a commitment we made in 2008 and represents the largest investment in Saskatchewan history in support of people with intellectual disabilities.
Less than a week later, we announced that the Saskatchewan Assured Income for Disability (SAID) program had achieved a significant milestone. SAID is now providing more than 10,000 Saskatchewan people with long-term and enduring disabilities a better quality of life through the provision of an income supplement that allows them to live with a greater measure of dignity and independence. Through initiatives such as these, our government is taking action to use the benefits of growth to improve the quality of life for all Saskatchewan people.
Other highlights of the spring session included:
- The new Saskatchewan Employment Act, which consolidates 12 previously existing pieces of labour legislation into one act that protects workers, promotes growth and increases accountability;
- The announcement of four new private liquor stores – 2 in Saskatoon and 2 in Regina – all of which will open over the next year;
- New laws to improve safety in highway construction zones; and
- The introduction of the Saskatchewan Advantage Grant for Education Savings (SAGES) to help families save for their children’s post-secondary education.
The big story this spring though wasn’t what was happening in Regina – it was the weather. From brutal spring snowstorms to the potential for significant flooding, Saskatchewan people came together in support of one another. As a government, we’d like to thank all the highways workers for keeping roads safe and community leaders, government officials and volunteers for the long hours they put in to deal with the flooding threat. The true spirit of the people of Saskatchewan shone through yet again.
So those were the bright spots of the spring session. For the lone not-so-bright spot, you only had to look to the other side of the Legislative Assembly. The opposition, under new leader Cam Broten, got off a to a rough start, when the Saskatoon MLA re-affirmed his support for the NDP’s disastrous 2011 election platform, including a concept soundly rejected by Saskatchewan people: a special deal on resource revenue sharing with First Nations. Broten followed that up by flip-flopping on support for the Keystone XL pipeline project. He eventually came down in favour of the project, but only after being reminded it had already received federal approval several years ago. Broten’s support for Keystone XL puts him at odds with not only his federal leader, Thomas Mulcair, but also with his closest leadership rival, Saskatoon Dr. Ryan Meili. Under Broten’s guiding hand, the NDP then started launching political attacks using false information. As the opposition, they have a responsibility to hold the government accountable, but to do so with facts. This was not the case on several occasions during the spring session. It started when Broten claimed overcrowding at a Saskatoon hospital led to 47 patients being treated in the hallway – it turns out there were only five. His Highways critic, Buckley Belanger, then claimed 90 highways workers were fired – also not true. This is a disturbing throwback to the days of Dwain Lingenfelter and his 1100 phony NDP memberships which does not serve the people of Saskatchewan well.
In the coming months, MLAs will be doing what they have every summer since the people of Saskatchewan – you - entrusted us with stewardship of this great province six years ago – consulting with constituents to find out what your priorities are. Together, we will work toward achieving the ambitious goals contained in the Growth Plan – a population of 1.2 million people, a strong economy and a better qualify of life.
If you have a question about this Legislative Report or any other matter, just Contact Glen.
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