Warren Michel­son

Moose Jaw Express.com - - NEWS -

Saskatchewan Day was cel­e­brated in many ways this past week­end, re­flec­tive of the won­der­ful di­ver­sity of our prov­ince. The motto on our Saskatchewan em­blem From Many Peo­ples, Strength so fit­tingly de­scribes the iden­tity of our prov­ince. Our pop­u­la­tion is com­prised of many cul­tures and back­grounds, and the va­ri­ety of skills and tal­ents within have built a strong and di­ver­si­fied pro­vin­cial econ­omy.

The Saskatchewan flag por­trays our ge­o­graph­i­cal di­ver­sity; the up­per half is green, rep­re­sent­ing Saskatchewan’s north­ern forests, while the lower half is gold, sym­bol­iz­ing the south­ern grain ar­eas. With ap­prox­i­mately 651,900 square kilo­me­tres, one half the prov­ince is cov­ered by for­est, one-third by farm­land and one-eighth by fresh wa­ter. Saskatchewan has a wealth of re­sources which has en­abled us to weather global eco­nomic cy­cles and is the envy of many na­tions. We ex­port agri­cul­ture prod­ucts, po­tash, ura­nium and oil. Saskatchewan is the world’s largest ex­porter of lentils, dried peas, mus­tard, flaxseed and canola. We have the largest po­tash in­dus­try in the world and the world’s largest high-grade ura­nium de­posits. Our grow­ing man­u­fac­tur­ing sec­tor ex­ports prod­ucts to all cor­ners of the globe.

Three per cent of the Cana­dian pop­u­la­tion re­side within Saskatchewan, yet our prov­ince ac­counts for 36 per cent of Canada’s pri­mary energy production. Saskatchewan is one of very few places on the globe that pro­duces crude oil, nat­u­ral gas, coal, ura­nium, bio­fu­els, geo­ther­mal, wind and hy­dro power. Our econ­omy has de­vel­oped be­cause Saskatchewan peo­ple are in­no­va­tive peo­ple. Peo­ple came to Saskatchewan and con­tinue to come here be­cause they are pre­pared to em­bark on new en­deav­ours. That at­ti­tude re­mains an eco­nomic driv­ing force. Saskatchewan Re­search Coun­cil is one of Canada’s lead­ing sup­pli­ers of ap­plied re­search, de­vel­op­ment and de­mon­stra­tion ser­vices, as well as tech­nol­ogy com­mer­cial­iza­tion. The Cana­dian Light Source is Canada’s only syn­chro­tron and one of the most ad­vanced in the world. The Univer­sity of Saskatchewan has built an in­ter­na­tional rep­u­ta­tion in health sciences, agri­cul­ture, and en­vi­ron­men­tal and life sciences. Recre­ation op­por­tu­ni­ties and the arts add to the colour and vi­brancy of Saskatchewan, as we see in our own Fes­ti­val of Words, Rhubarb Pro­duc­tions and tourism at­trac­tions. We are be­ing no­ticed. Cana­dian vis­i­tors in­creased their spend­ing in the prov­ince by over ten per­cent last year.

We have seen tremen­dous growth in the last decade. Our Gross Do­mes­tic Product in­creased by 18.7 per cent. Our pop­u­la­tion is the sec­ond fastest grow­ing prov­ince in Canada, grow­ing by 167,000 peo­ple to 1.16 mil­lion. We have 40 new or re­place­ment schools and 25 ma­jor school ren­o­va­tions with 840 more teach­ers and 173 more stu­dent sup­port teach- ers work­ing in our schools.

The Se­niors In­come Plan ben­e­fit has tripled and 15 new long-term care fa­cil­i­ties have been opened. We have added nearly 900 more doc­tors and over 3,700 more nurses. We went from hav­ing the long­est sur­gi­cal wait times in Canada to among the short­est. In­vest­ments in hos­pi­tal projects dou­bled, in­clud­ing our new hos­pi­tal, the Chil­dren’s Hos­pi­tal in Saska­toon and the Saskatchewan Hos­pi­tal in North Bat­tle­ford.

Saskatchewan Day was a good time to re­flect on the many pos­i­tive as­pects of our prov­ince. Eco­nomic growth is en­cour­ag­ing, and the nat­u­ral beauty is as­tound­ing, but it’s the peo­ple who truly make this the best place in Canada to live, work and raise our fam­i­lies.

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