MLA Hind­ley re­flects on con­clu­sion of fall leg­isla­tive ses­sion

The Southwest Booster - - FRONT PAGE - SCOTT AN­DER­SON SOUTH­WEST BOOSTER

Swift Cur­rent MLA Everett Hind­ley has con­cluded a mem­o­rable first year in the leg­is­la­ture fol­low­ing the end of the fall leg­isla­tive ses­sion on De­cem­ber 6.

Hind­ley, who was elected dur­ing a March 1 by-elec­tion, has wrapped up his in­au­gu­ral fall sit­ting which in­cluded his first Throne Speech.

“It was good to have a lit­tle bit of ex­pe­ri­ence un­der my belt from the spring ses­sion,” Hind­ley ad­mit­ted in an in­ter­view af­ter re­turn­ing home from Regina. “I had a chance to do a re­ply to the Throne Speech and get up in the House on more that one oc­ca­sion to talk about some good things hap­pen­ing back here in Swift Cur­rent. I also had the op­por­tu­nity to speak to a cou­ple of pieces of leg­is­la­tion that we felt were im­por­tant to speak out against on be­half of folks here in Saskatchewan.”

Hind­ley felt it was a pro­duc­tive fall ses­sion, and he noted a high­light was the suc­cess of their bud­get­ing strat­egy as re­flected in the Mid Year Fi­nan­cial Re­port re­leased on Novem­ber 29. Their mid-year deficit for 2018-2019 is pro­jected to be $348.3 mil­lion, which is $17 mil­lion bet­ter than their bud­get day pro­jec­tions.

“It reaf­firmed that our three-year plan to get the prov­ince’s bud­get back to bal­ance is on track. So you can ex­pect, with all things taken into con­sid­er­a­tion right now, that in the spring bud­get for 20192020 that that will show a bal­anced bud­get. So we’re go­ing to con­tinue to watch our spend­ing and mak­ing sure that the in­vest­ments we make are tar­geted.”

Saskatchewan con­tin­ues to be a vo­cal op­po­nent of a fed­er­ally im­posed car­bon tax, and fo­cus­ing on their made-in-saskatchewan Prairie Re­silience Plan.

“We feel it will make some mean­ing­ful re­duc­tions to­wards emis­sions while also be­ing able to do that with­out im­pact­ing the econ­omy too greatly,” Hind­ley said of the Prairie Re­silience Plan.

“I had a chance to speak in the House against Bill C-69 which is the Fed­eral Im­pact As­sess­ment leg­is­la­tion, some­thing that we feel as a gov­ern­ment, and the folks that we’ve talked to in the in­dus­try, we be­lieve would se­verely re­strict fur­ther in­vest­ment, not just in Saskatchewan but in Canada.”

He also pointed to im­por­tant late ses­sion leg­is­la­tion in­clud­ing mov­ing ahead with manda­tory min­i­mum train­ing for com­mer­cial semi driv­ers, ap­proval of ride shar­ing leg­is­la­tion, the ex­pan­sion of Work­ers’ Com­pen­sa­tion Board cov­er­age in a num­ber of ar­eas for Fire Fighters, and the in­tro­duc­tion of Clare’s Law which makes Saskatchewan the first prov­ince to move for­ward with leg­is­la­tion which al­lows po­lice to re­lease in­for­ma­tion about some­one’s vi­o­lent or abu­sive past to in­ti­mate part­ners who may be at risk.

On the sec­ond last day of the fall ses­sion, the prov­ince un­veiled a Water­flood De­vel­op­ment Pro­gram to help stim­u­late the pe­tro­leum in­dus­try. The ini­tia­tive pro­vides in­cen­tives to con­vert ex­ist­ing pro­duc­ing well into water­flood in­jec­tion wells or to drill new ded­i­cated water­flood in­jec­tion wells. The pro­gram could sup­port $375 mil­lion in new in­vest­ment over the next five years, while help­ing en­hance the com­pet­i­tive­ness of the prov­ince’s en­ergy in­dus­try.

Hind­ley ac­com­pa­nied Min­is­ter of En­ergy and Re­sources Bron­wyn Eyre when she was given a first-hand look at en­ergy sec­tor com­pa­nies op­er­at­ing in the South­west dur­ing a tour back in Au­gust.

“This par­tic­u­lar pro­gram is some­thing we’ve de­ter­mined would be ben­e­fi­cial to the in­dus­try. It’s a roy­alty de­fer­ral pro­gram, so it’s not cost­ing the gov­ern­ment any money. They are plays that haven’t been de­vel­oped yet,” Hind­ley said.

“There’s a lot at play here when it comes to the oil and gas in­dus­try. We’re see­ing the dif­fer­en­tial in oil prices hav­ing an im­pact on the econ­omy and on that sec­tor. The whole pipeline ver­sus rail de­bate that’s go­ing on across the na­tion, we need to keep fo­cussing on ex­panded pipeline ca­pac­ity.”

“Any­thing we can do to try and in­cen­tivize that sec­tor would be help­ful be­cause it’s so key to not just Swift Cur­rent but all of South­west Saskatchewan and the en­tire prov­ince when you look at the roy­al­ties that come from the oil and gas sec­tor to the pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment and the count­less jobs that they cre­ate, ei­ther di­rectly in­volved in the oil and gas in­dus­try or in­di­rectly. It has such a huge im­pact, so any­thing that we can do to help spur eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment it seems a pos­i­tive move.”

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