Legislative Report (31 January 2008)
Growing Economy - Growing Benefits
Saskatchewan is currently experiencing an economic boom and the Saskatchewan Party government is dedicated to ensuring that the people of Saskatchewan see the benefit such an economy in their every day lives.
One example of how the Saskatchewan Party government is ensuring the benefits of a growing economy reach the people of the province is our announcement this week to fully fund the cancer drug Avastin. This announcement ensures that patients with colo-rectal cancer will no longer have to pay thousands of dollars of their own hard earned money for the life-extending drug. Before this announcement, patients were paying $2,000 per dose for a drug that gave them more time with their families. “Offering another option to those in the advanced stages of colorectal cancer is the right thing to do. We are committed to using health care dollars wisely and balancing the needs of all patients.” Health Minister Don McMorris said.
By providing $4 million to the Saskatchewan Cancer Agency for this drug, patients and families dealing with colo-rectal cancer can now focus completely their battle with cancer, instead of battling both the cancer AND the government for funding. Our province joins the provinces of Newfoundland and Labrador, British Columbia, and Quebec in funding this drug. This promise will also include retroactive coverage to November 7, 2007 for the people who will be treated with Avastin. “We promised to put patients first and to strengthen cancer care for Saskatchewan people,” Premier Brad Wall said. “We're making good on those promises.”
The Saskatchewan Party government has been working to promote and sustain economic development since our election in November. The population of Saskatchewan recently surpassed one million people (the highest quarterly growth rate in Canada), employment levels increased and the province shattered a record for the sale of Crown petroleum and gas rights in 2007. This growth means higher incomes for the working people of Saskatchewan. The average Saskatchewan worker made 6.9 percent more in payroll earnings in 2007 which was the largest increase in Canada. In Saskatchewan today, a record number of people are working and making more than they ever have before. The people of Saskatchewan are seeing real benefits from the growing economy.
Over the last week, Premier Wall and Energy and Resources Minister Bill Boyd have been in meetings across the country promoting expansion and investment in Saskatchewan’s energy sector. The Premier and the Minister met with stakeholders in Calgary to discuss expansion in the oil and gas industry in Saskatchewan and to ensure investors that no royalty increases are on the agenda. These meetings served to set a positive tone for future cooperation with stakeholders across the country.
Premier Wall and Minister Boyd were also in Vancouver this week to continue promoting growth in Saskatchewan. Our government believes that the New West has enough natural resources like uranium, oil and natural gas to become an energy leader in North America. The promotion of this idea was a priority for Premier Wall at the recent winter Premier’s meeting in B.C. and for Minister Boyd at the Mineral Exploration Roundup.
While in Vancouver, Premier Wall addressed the Council of the Federation Adaptation Forum on climate change indicating that Saskatchewan intends to once again lead crop science research in the country. Premier Wall also stated that the province is willing to take the lead regarding biofuels infrastructure and that “we must increase access to these cleaner, greener fuels right across Canada.”
Saskatchewan’s growth should not only be confined to the energy and resource division of the Saskatchewan economy. The Saskatchewan Party government is working with the federal government and the other provinces to end the Canadian Wheat Board’s monopoly on barley markets. Opening up this market would allow the Saskatchewan farmers to choose where to market their harvest. The majority of barley producers in Saskatchewan have said that they want marketing choices for their barley. The Saskatchewan Party government is supporting initiatives to provide farmers with that option which will allow farmers to sell their grain for the best available price. This is yet another example of the type of positive leadership the Saskatchewan Party government intends to provide to the people of Saskatchewan.
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