Throne Speech Debate (12 December 2007)
From Hansard - 12 December 2007
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This was Nadine's maiden speech in the Legislative Assembly.
Ms. Wilson: — Mr. Speaker, it’s an honour to stand before you in the first session of the twenty-sixth legislature. I take this opportunity to congratulate you on your esteemed position to which you have been elected by your peers and colleagues. I would like to wish you a very successful term in the House.
At this time I respectfully acknowledge my husband Douglas and my loving family of four teenagers, now adults, for the sacrifices they made for me to be here. I thank all the people whose support and encouragement have brought me here today. To my campaign team and hardworking volunteers, thank you for giving me your trust over the years — two and a half years, but who’s counting? It’s an honour and a privilege to represent them all in the Legislative Assembly.
I’d like to congratulate all members of this Assembly and especially the members on my side of the House sitting for the first time as government.
I believe the message has been delivered by the people of Saskatchewan.
The riding I represent is called Sask Rivers. I would especially like to thank the people of Saskatchewan Rivers for their overwhelming support. We won the election by more than 1,000 votes. We had a very interesting, fun, though difficult task over the two and a half years, and I’m very happy that the people of Sask Rivers acknowledged my team’s hard work and also believed that people of our community have realized that we are capable of so much more.
We campaigned on a platform to improve this community through hope, not fear, and I’d like to take this time to show my respect for the hard-working people of this constituency.
Mr. Speaker, Sask Rivers constituency stands from Big River to White Fox, a span of 200 miles across. It borders the Saskatchewan River to the south and the boreal forest to the north. Situated in the northern area of the riding is beautiful Waskesiu who many have attended. It’s located in the Prince Albert National Park, home to 11,000 people, four First Nations communities, and several regional parks. It’s a riding dependent on agriculture, forestry, and tourism.
This is the riding I call home, where my husband and I live on a fourth-generation cattle operation. My roots in this riding are almost as old as the province of Saskatchewan. My maternal grandfather homesteaded in the Christopher Lake-Northside area in 1916. Raising a family of ten, his descendants still reside in that area.
In 1953 the community of Paddockwood presented a brief to the Royal Commission of Agriculture and Rural Life. Holding a forum to discuss problems of the community in regard to agriculture and rural life, all problems were discussed for the purpose of summarizing problems and solutions. It’s interesting to note that the problems the community had in the ’50s are very much the same as today — roads, health services, education, insufficient credit to young farmers. Things have not changed much since the ’50s and why is that so? Under the present government these issues will be rectified.
Mr. Speaker, much of these rural problems still sound familiar and linger in today’s world of 2007. These supposedly minor problems of the past have become major problems of today and the future, and I am confident our current government will focus on these problems and improve life in rural Saskatchewan.
The good people in Big River and area are struggling with forestry issues today, as well as many others in the Saskatchewan Rivers constituency. I, for one, would like to see innovations and entrepreneurship as sustainable economic development options for growth in the forestry sector. Our forest area is huge and needs to be utilized. When the saw mills began in the early 1900s, loggers prospered and families raised generations of foresters. These families would still like to work in the forest industry and need our ideas.
Other areas exceeded higher than normal precipitation levels resulting in producers struggling to seed and harvest crops. Choiceland and Smeaton especially suffered, and the Smeaton community also experienced the closing of their elementary school.
Mr. Speaker, one of the central priorities of the new government is job creation and people retention. We have an abundance of opportunities in the Sask Rivers area that we are very excited about. We look forward to having an economically prosperous and fruitful constituency, and we’re confident that our population will actually grow.
Under Premier Brad Wall, the constituency of Sask Rivers will prosper under the plan to train and retain young people. Young people represent the core of our foundation and are badly needed all across our province. For too many years, we witnessed migration to other provinces without an appropriate retention plan. We badly need young entrepreneurs and labourers to give development in this constituency, and we’re very excited to bring our people back to Sask Rivers.
We have an abundance of opportunity right here. We have a positive vision for the future. We picture new business openings and rural development with home builders and families flocking here. We’d like to see more children playing in our towns, more shops and businesses opening their doors, more services available for our residents. So let’s put a stop to those shrinking towns, and let’s start growing our population. We need to restore public confidence.
Mr. Speaker, the constituency of Sask Rivers offers some remarkable history. Not many people realize that our constituency is home to the very first Red Cross hospital in the British Empire — what an achievement! Carved out of the forest fringe, this hospital was built in Paddockwood and served smaller communities that were further away from the hub city centres.
Built in 1920 and used until ’49, this hospital was developed for the large number of World War I veterans returning to the area and raising families. Vacant land was being taken up by returning men who had gone overseas from the Paddockwood area. Our community built and maintained this hospital, and its success led to the development of 23 more of these hospitals throughout Saskatchewan. Both of my parents were actually born in this hospital, mom in ’31 and dad in ’29.
Our province was built by pioneers — hard-working farmers, labourers, and determined settlers. Saskatchewan Rivers still has the same attitude. We’re willing to work very hard to build a better way of life for our children.
My grandfather arrived in Canada in ’27, filing a homestead and working for $55 a month to purchase a team of horses and wagon. My son is now fourth generation on this land. All of his four great-grandfathers farmed in the Sask Rivers constituency. Their move to Canada took a huge leap of faith. They left all that was familiar because they believed a better life would be found in Canada for their family in generations to come, and I will always be grateful for the courage they showed in what it was meant to be a Canadian.
Mr. Speaker, living and working in this riding, which was developed almost solely on immigration, I know how important it is that we keep our schools and long-term care facilities right in these communities. Our seniors deserve the best quality of life that we can give them, as these resourceful people were inventive, innovative, and courageous Canadians. I believe these qualities live on in our next generation, and I am here to represent their interests.
One interest I would like to see is young individuals staying in Saskatchewan and having endless opportunities for success, room to grow and give to the social contributions of their society, just like their ancestors had hoped for. I spoke to many people with stories of their hopes and visions. Why have so many of our young people left this promising province?
I’d also like to talk about some of the more recent accomplishments of our constituency. A major education company has recently named the Saskatchewan Rivers School Division as one of its North American showcase districts. Thanks to the hard work of the educators in my constituency, Smart Technologies has donated $76,000 worth of hardware to reward their creative use of technology in the classroom. Angie Lysitza, a teacher at W. J. Berezowsky School, was congratulated for showcasing her classroom ideas. Her teaching style is now a model for educators nationwide.
Mr. Speaker, I’m also confident that business will continue to grow in my riding. And some wonderful people are making Sask Rivers the place to be. Arne Petersen, for example, has done some great things with Elk Ridge Resort — a four-season complex and prestigious 18-hole golf course. Maybe some of you have golfed on it.
Arne had a vision for our beautiful boreal forest and he’s developed one of the most successful tourist attractions in Saskatchewan. Arne achieved success using a relatively simple business model. We can entice people from all over the world with Saskatchewan’s natural beauty. Our province can be a destination hot spot for tourists, and Arne is realizing that vision.
Tourism is one of the many industries on which Saskatchewan will grow under this new government. Our riding, for example, offers great potential for farming, forestry, and the diamond mine. I’m sure we’re all very excited about the prospect of diamond mining in the Fort-à-la-Corne district. With Great Western Diamonds, Shore Gold, Shane Resources, and Star Uranium Corporation, one of the biggest kimberlite finds in the world has been discovered right here in the constituency of Saskatchewan Rivers.
The new government has only been in power for a few short weeks and I’d like to note the improvements that have already been made. Our next election date has been set for November 7, 2011, thus marking the end of election game playing and pre-election gimmicks and spending.
Mr. Speaker, also of importance for me personally, since I’m one of the few women in the legislature, is the zero tolerance for harassment.
Our new government has taken a hard-line stance against workplace harassment and this sets an excellent precedent for workplace conduct in our province. A new generation of government lawmakers should represent the ever-changing face of the Saskatchewan public and these ideas exemplify this new face. Employees in this province should not have to hesitate to voice their opinions for fear of losing their job.
Mr. Speaker, I’m sure that everyone in this room is excited about the fresh, new Saskatchewan face that we are forming, and if any of you have loved ones living in other Canadian provinces, now is the time to convince them to come back to Saskatchewan. There’s hope for this province after all. In my riding and all across Saskatchewan, I can feel optimism in the air. We have a fresh, new government that makes sense. We have world-class oil sands. We have fixed election dates. We have no more redundant taxes on used cars. We have aggressive diamond exploration and we have plans to improve health care and attract doctors and nurses.
We are growing our population at last. And last, but definitely not least, our beloved Riders have won the Grey Cup.
I’d like to end on a note of optimism and hope, and to assure the people of Saskatchewan that the new government will work hard to address their needs. We are part of an exciting, new Saskatchewan. And again I’d like to thank the people of Sask Rivers for giving me their trust and support. In my part of the country we have numerous lakes, beautiful lakes, that dot the constituency and can be enjoyed by ice fishing, cross country skiing, and snowmobiling over the winter months. This year there’s been an abundance of snow to aid to these sports and I’d like to welcome all of you, all the Saskatchewan residents, to enjoy all the resources that my riding has to offer.
On a final note, I’d like to wish you a joyous holiday season and, Mr. Speaker, I thank you for the privilege of addressing the Assembly today. I look forward to the years ahead as we work together for the people who have put the faith in us. Mr. Speaker, I support the Throne Speech. Thank you.
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