Tak­ing ac­tion for to­mor­row

Moose Jaw Times Herald - - OPINION -

A de­cline in potash, ura­nium and oil prices around the world has pre­sented a chal­lenge for Saskatchewan. These chal­lenges re­quired tough de­ci­sions by our gov­ern­ment to pro­vide pub­lic ser­vices, and con­tinue to keep the eco­nomic mo­men­tum of our grow­ing prov­ince. In­stead of in­creased bor­row­ing and passing off a prob­lem­atic deficit to our chil­dren and grand­chil­dren, we took ac­tion to con­trol gov­ern­ment spend­ing and pro­tect core pub­lic ser­vices.

We are work­ing to meet the chal­lenge and keep Saskatchewan strong and I am en­cour­aged to see pos­i­tive signs of re­siliency as our di­ver­si­fied econ­omy con­tin­ues to grow.

Ac­cord­ing to the Cana­dian Au­to­mo­bile Deal­ers As­so­ci­a­tion, Saskatchewan is No. 1 in Canada for new car sales growth. The prov­ince has seen strong build­ing-per­mit growth of 20 per cent over last year, with whole­sale trade up 13 per cent and mer­chan­dise ex­ports in­creas­ing by over 38 per cent.

De­spite the chal­lenges we face, I am also en­cour­aged to see the con­fi­dence of new­com­ers who are choos­ing Saskatchewan as a place to live, work and in­vest. Our pro­vin­cial pop­u­la­tion con­tin­ues to grow. Over the past year, Saskatchewan’s pop­u­la­tion in­creased by 16,047 peo­ple.

To meet the chal­lenge of a grow­ing prov­ince, an ag­ing power grid and our com­mit­ment to the en­vi­ron­ment, SaskPower is in­vest­ing sig­nif­i­cantly in Saskatchewan’s elec­tric­ity sys­tem.

Of in­ter­est is the launch of the com­pet­i­tive process for our prov­ince’s first 10-me­gawatt util­ity-scale so­lar project. Once built, it would be the first Cana­dian project of that size out­side of On­tario.

SaskEn­ergy aims to in­crease safety across its more than 85,000 kilo­me­tres of buried in­fra­struc­ture as it serves a grow­ing pop­u­la­tion. Safety im­prove­ments have re­sulted in the low­est leak rates in com­pany his­tory and an 11 per cent re­duc­tion in third-party line hits — part of a 35 per cent re­duc­tion in dam­age in­ci­dents since 2013. The cor­po­ra­tion has also achieved its best-ever em­ployee safety per­for­mance, which builds on its com­mit­ment to the pro­vin­cial Mis­sion: Zero tar­get.

Our prov­ince has grown sig­nif­i­cantly and so too have in­vest­ments in the things that mat­ter to Saskatchewan peo­ple — health care, ed­u­ca­tion, in­no­va­tion

and in­fra­struc­ture. Fund­ing for K-12 ed­u­ca­tion in Saskatchewan has dou­bled while nearly $8.3 bil­lion has been in­vested in post-se­condary ed­u­ca­tion. $46.5 bil­lion has been in­vested in health care and we have in­vested a record $7.4 bil­lion in trans­porta­tion in­fra­struc­ture to im­prove more than 12,000 kilo­me­tres of roads.

Dur­ing this pe­riod of un­prece­dented growth, we have worked to pay down debt and save you more through var­i­ous tax re­duc­tions while build­ing for to­mor­row, car­ing for peo­ple and fo­cus­ing on the fu­ture. Record in­vest­ments in health care, ed­u­ca­tion, in­no­va­tion and in­fra­struc­ture have im­proved the qual­ity of life in Saskatchewan and will keep us strong into the fu­ture.

Our gov­ern­ment far prefers the chal­lenges of growth to the chal­lenges of de­cline. As Saskatchewan’s pop­u­la­tion con­tin­ues to grow, we will meet these chal­lenges from a po­si­tion of strength.

Our of­fice will con­tinue reg­u­lar hours of 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. dur­ing the clo­sure of High Street West for wa­ter main re­place­ment. How­ever, we can also be reached by phone at 306-692-8884 and e-mail at moose­jawnorthmla@shaw.ca.

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