Legislative Report (27 March 2008)
Strong Economic Growth Continues
SASKATCHEWAN GOES ORANGE THIS SUMMER
Expect to take a little longer when traveling this summer. Details emerged this week about the initial roll-out of the $1 billion Ready For Growth infrastructure investment contained in the balanced 2008-2009 budget. With a budget of $513 million, highway construction will be at a record high. There are over 1,400 kilometers of construction and maintenance projects scheduled. If you have questions or concerns about a particular road or highway, give your constituency office a call.
BUDGET GETS RAVE REVIEWS
With the announcement of the 2008-2009 budget, more than 40 promises have now been kept by your Saskatchewan Party government. With a focus on sustaining growth, sharing the economic benefits and avoiding the mistakes of Alberta, our first budget received top marks from across the province. Business commentator Paul Martin called the budget a “giant step forward”. Bruce Johnstone of the Leader Post said we are learning from Alberta’s mistakes, and Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation President Dianne Woloschuk said our funding increase for education was “significant” and “long overdue”. The Saskatchewan Registered Nurses Association said it was nice to see a government finally take seriously the shortage in their profession.
NATION-LEADING ECONOMIC GROWTH CONTINUES
The economic good news continues to pour in. Two new reports predict Saskatchewan will lead the way in economic growth and business confidence. The Canada West Foundation is forecasting the Saskatchewan economy will grow by 3.6 per cent this year, leading the country. A report by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business shows that businesses here are more optimistic about the next six months than anywhere else in Canada. Also this week, Statistics Canada released numbers showing we led the country in retail sales, wholesale trade, and international exports in January.
KEEPING DOCTORS AT HOME
Sixty-four bursaries were handed out recently to medical students and residents who agree to stay and work in Saskatchewan. So far this year, 137 bursaries have been handed out through the program, which is a partnership with the Saskatchewan Medical Association. Value of the bursaries is from $10,000 to $30,000. The bursaries are just one of a number of initiatives we have put in place to keep and attract physicians. Others include increasing the number of seats at the College of Medicine and adding another 60 residency training spots.
A NEW TOOL TO FIGHT DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
The safety and protection of people at risk is critical to the future of this province. To that end, the third Domestic Violence Court was unveiled this past week. Following in the footsteps of courts already existing in North Battleford and Saskatoon, this new hall of justice will focus on healing and accountability. Its aim is to increase the safety of victims of violence at home through changing the behaviour of offenders. It is a unique facility because it will only deal with those offenders who have entered a guilty plea and intend to take responsibility for their actions.
ADDRESSING THE LABOUR SHORTAGE
With economic prosperity come challenges. One of the challenges facing the red hot Saskatchewan economy is a shortage of skilled labourers. Your Saskatchewan Party government recognized it is a serious issue that needs addressing. We have signed an Aboriginal Employment Development Program partnership agreement with the City of Regina and several unions. Working in partnership with Saskatchewan’s First Nations and Métis is a key component in successfully meeting that challenge. Only by working together can we find a solution.
If you have a question about this Legislative Report or any other matter, just Contact Nadine.
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