Report from the Legislature

May 10, 2012

The good economic news for Saskatchewan just keeps rolling in. A new report from BMO Economics indicates our province’s economy will grow by 2.9 per cent this year, second only to Alberta. The report goes on to state: “Saskatchewan’s economy remains among the top performers in Canada, boosted by a strong resource sector.” Our abundant natural resources – potash, oil, uranium – have played a significant role in our province’s transformation from “have not” to “have” status. That transformation is part of the Saskatchewan Advantage. As your government, we will not stand idly by when external forces, such as federal NDP leader Thomas Mulcair, take positions that threaten that advantage.

In a recent interview, Mulcair suggested a strong natural resource sector was bad for Canada because it threatened manufacturing jobs in Quebec and Ontario. When asked about her federal leader’s blatant attempt to win votes by pitting one region of Canada against another, Saskatchewan NDP Energy and Resources Critic Cathy Sproule replied by passing the buck, saying, “If there are issues around economics, that's something the federal government would have to deal with.”

That statement provides a great deal of clarity and understanding in regards to the Saskatchewan NDP’s inability to grow our province’s economy during their 16 years in power. They had no plan, because they expected the federal government to drive economic development. Now they seem to be willing to put your future into the hands of people like Thomas Mulcair, who think our strong resource sector is a “disease” that can only be cured by slowing down our potash, mining and oil sectors, killing thousands of jobs.

This type of language puts much at risk. Not only is Saskatchewan expected to be one of the growth leaders in Canada this year, with the fastest growing GDP in almost 15 years, a record-high population, record-low unemployment and some of the highest average weekly earnings in Canada, we are also unique in that we have the only balanced provincial budget country. One of the reasons that budget is balanced is due to the strength of our resource sector. Comments such as Mr. Mulcair’s threaten that strength, which in turn threatens the sustainable spending our government has been able to commit to on programs and services important to you and your family: scholarships for high school students, tax breaks for first time homebuyers, lowering surgical wait times, increased access to cancer treatment and more support for seniors and people with disabilities.

We don’t need this type of economic prescription for Saskatchewan and Canada from the federal NDP leader – and we don’t need that sort of abdication of responsibility from the provincial NDP. A strong resource sector is good for the entire country. It’s good for the Saskatchewan Advantage. We will continue to take action to protect the advantages that make our province the best place in Canada to live, work and raise a family.