Legislative Report (2 April 2008)
SPRING SESSION RESUMES
After working in our constituencies during the spring session’s week long Easter break, your Saskatchewan Party MLAs are hard at work again at the Legislative Building. The spring session of the legislature already included our landmark, balanced Ready For Growth budget, which brought to more than 40 the number of campaign promises kept by the Saskatchewan Party government since taking office last November. Over the coming weeks, expect legislation that will keep more promises, help sustain our economic momentum, and ensure everyone in the province shares in the benefits of the current economic prosperity.
FASTEST POPULATION GROWTH IN OVER 50 YEARS
Last week, Statistics Canada released more proof our province is the place to be. Saskatchewan had a huge jump in population in 2007. There are now almost 16,500 more people than there were a year ago. That’s the biggest year-over-year jump since 1952! Our population now sits at 1,006,644. For the first time in years, more people are moving in than moving out, including thousands of people from Alberta.
NEW INITIATIVE TO ADDRESS LOT SHORTAGE
When you’re growing like we are, finding space to put the people moving here can be a challenge. That’s why your Saskatchewan Party government announced a new initiative this week that keeps our promise of addressing the current shortage of residential and commercial lots. The Saskatchewan Infrastructure Growth Initiative program will provide municipalities with interest rate subsidies for five years on $300 million of municipal borrowing to help them address the shortage of lots in their communities. Information and applications are now on-line.
MORE FUNDING TO FIGHT INTERNET PREDATORS
“Get off the Internet; get help, because we’re going to hunt you down.” With those words, Corrections, Public Safety and Policing Minister Darryl Hickie announced an increase in funding for the police unit that goes after sexual predators who target kids on the Internet. The Integrated Child Exploitation (ICE) unit is receiving a $1.12 million funding increase (the previous government’s funding commitment totaled only $650,000). With that money, the four police officers hired back in January become permanent and seven more positions will be added. Everyone’s heard the recent story of the Swift Current mom whose 14-year-old daughter left home to meet a man she met on-line. She has since been re-united with her family, but her story could have had a tragic ending. When we were campaigning last fall, we promised you we would protect our kids by beefing up the police unit tasked with protecting them from sexual predators on the Internet. Promise kept.
SASKJOBS.CA SEEING RECORD TRAFFIC
On March 28, the government’s job search website, SaskJobs.ca, recorded its millionth visitor. That is faster than it happened last year. This year it only took 88 days compared to 2007’s 111. Where those visitors came from is also interesting. 150,000 of the million visits were from out-of-province, including 36,000 from Alberta and 33,000 from Ontario. And, on March 10, a new single-day high of 16,000 visits was hit. So what do all those numbers mean? Hundreds of thousands of people want to live and work in Saskatchewan, and our Ready for Growth budget sets the stage for that.
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