Legislative Report (1 April 2009)

Thousands of Northern Jobs at Risk

The NDP’s anti-nuclear policy is threatening the jobs of thousands of aboriginal workers and their families. One of the NDP leadership candidates has said if elected Premier he would put all of those jobs at risk and call for a virtual shutdown of the entire uranium industry. Such a highly irresponsible move would have a devastating financial, social and emotional impact on the people of northern Saskatchewan. The uranium industry employs approximately 8,700 people directly and indirectly, more than 40 per cent of which are aboriginal. More than 50 per cent of those workers are northern residents. Our government supports the consideration of further value-added development of Saskatchewan’s uranium industry. We recognize the potential benefits to the growth and prosperity of the people of our province.

LIGHTS AND SIRENS FOR VOLUNTEER FIRST RESPONDERS

Last year, a volunteer firefighter in Estevan on his way to an emergency was ticketed for running a red light. Upon learning of the incident, our government took action. Legislation to allow volunteer first responders to use flashing lights and drive contrary to the rules of the road, when safe to do so, was drafted, passed by the legislature and came into effect April 1, 2009. This common sense change will allow them to respond more quickly, potentially saving lives. This change is of particular importance in rural Saskatchewan where volunteers are often the first on the scene of an accident or other emergency. Our government committed to making this common sense change, and we are pleased to keep that promise.

FUNDING FOR AFFORDABLE HOUSING

Your Saskatchewan Party government continues to take action to make life more affordable. We are committing $10 million of funding for seniors, low-income families and society’s most vulnerable. $1 million will go to Habitat For Humanity, to fund the construction of 20 quality, affordable homes in Regina, Saskatoon, Prince Albert, Moose Jaw, Yorkton and Lloydminster. A further $180,000 will also go to fund the Habitat Regina Youth Build Project for the next 3 years, which trains young adults for careers in the skilled construction trades. This funding is in line with recommendations from the Task Force on Housing Affordability which called for enhanced relationships with community based organizations that have expertise in the area of creating affordable housing. It is in addition to $29.3 million in funding for affordable housing approved by the Legislature on March 17. An investment in affordable housing is an investment in the future.

GROWING SASKATCHEWAN

Our government had the opportunity to tell the Saskatchewan story again at the country’s largest job fair. Premier Brad Wall and a delegation consisting of elected officials and employers attended the National Job Fair in Toronto for the second year in a row. Following the 2008 National Job Fair, more than 80 Ontario families moved to Saskatchewan. While not immune to the effects of the global recession, the Saskatchewan economy is relatively strong in comparison to other provinces. There were 14,500 jobs created over the past year. Average weekly wages have increased to more than $800 per week for the first time. There are 3,000 jobs posted on the Saskjobs.ca website. Our government is taking, and will continue to take, action to ensure the Saskatchewan economy remains strong and steady. We are looking to the future.

GREEN FOR GO-GREEN

Your Saskatchewan Party government is committed to supporting green initiatives. We are providing $10 million from the Go Green fund for made-in Saskatchewan environmental projects. Eligible projects are those that reduce waste and greenhouse gas emissions and protect our water resources. Six projects will receive over $8 million in funding, including:

  1. The Aquistore project at the Petroleum Technology Research Council at the University of Regina to demonstrate CO2 storage;
  2. A project to convert biomass into ethanol at the Saskatchewan Research Council;
  3. Recycled pavement technology being developed by Pavement Scientific International Inc;
  4. The City of Regina and Evergreen Sports Programming Ltd. for the development of a waste reduction program; and
  5. Watercycles Energy Recovery Inc. to develop an automated manufacturing process for an innovative new product that has the potential to reduce by more than one third the greenhouse gases produced by hot water heating.
$1.3 million is being committed to existing Go Green projects such as the SaskEnergy rebates and incentives to reduce energy and water consumption.

Our government is taking action to promote a sustainable environment through made-in-Saskatchewan projects which will reduce waste and greenhouse gas emissions and protect our water resources.

If you have a question about this Legislative Report or any other matter, just Contact Don.

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