Darryl Hickie’s MLA Report

The start of a new school year can bring out a range of emotions. It provides a fresh start for excited parents, students, teachers and support staff. From early-learning to post-secondary, on behalf of the Government of Saskatchewan, I would like to express my appreciation to all those who are helping prepare our children and youth for a bright future in Saskatchewan.

Saskatchewan continues to be a leader in economic growth with more people, more jobs and higher wages than ever before. Driven by the confidence and continued contributions of our people, this growth is reflected in the latest labour force survey by Statistics Canada.

Comparing July 2013 to July 2014, there were 10,600 new full-time jobs in Saskatchewan, our youth unemployment rate was lowest among the provinces at half the national average, and there was noticeable decline in Aboriginal unemployment.

The First Quarter Financial Report released this week shows that Saskatchewan’s provincial budget surplus remains intact, even with a $150 million allowance for flood-related costs. The projected surplus is $75 million, up $3.5 million from budget, despite the flood allowance, largely due to a projected increase in total revenue of $169 million. While final costs of flooding are still being determined, the Province is setting aside $150 million for flood-related expenses.

Municipal governments are on the front lines dealing with the opportunities and challenges in our growing province. One of our priorities in government is helping our municipal partners by providing them with predictable funding for priority projects in their communities. In 2011, we accomplished this by tying Revenue Sharing to one point of the Provincial Sales Tax (PST). As PST revenue increases, so too does the amount of revenue shared with municipalities.

Many parts of our province experienced unprecedented rainfall recently, which resulted in a number of communities declaring local states of emergency. Officials from Emergency Management and Fire Safety, the Provincial Disaster Assistance Program, Water Security Agency, Highways and Agriculture will be working with all communities affected as they begin the recovery process.

Below is a summary of some very important information and contacts to help you address any inquiries.

Provincial Disaster Assistance Program

We want to ensure every Saskatchewan resident has the opportunity to participate in the electoral process – particularly those who face challenges in casting their vote. This is why, in consultation with the Official Opposition, our government has introduced amendments that are going to make it easier for Saskatchewan people to vote in future provincial elections.

The Saskatchewan Plan for Growth sets out our vision for a province of 1.2 million people by 2020. This is a plan for economic growth that builds on the strength of our residents, resources and innovation in order to secure a better quality of life for all Saskatchewan people.

Saskatchewan people deserve to keep more of what they earn and, as a government, our preference is to accommodate that by controlling spending and keeping taxes low. Despite revenue challenges, we accomplished just that with our 2014-15 provincial budget.

Since 2007, Saskatchewan people have benefited from the largest income tax and education property tax cuts in our province’s history. As another tax season comes to a close, we remain committed to keeping taxes low, real action that helps Saskatchewan people.

Saskatchewan is a growing province with a growing need for maternal and children’s health services. It is important that we not only design and build a Children’s Hospital, but also that we deliver a facility that is going to meet our needs now and into the future.

As Canadians we are free to speak without fear, worship in our own way, oppose what we feel is wrong and choose who should govern us. These freedoms, which we often take for granted, were put in perspective recently as 47 people from 22 countries gathered at the Legislative Building in Regina. They took the oath of citizenship, officially becoming Canadian citizens. These 47 people, now Canadians, can now claim all of these freedoms for themselves.

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