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MLA Report

Report from the Legislature
June 29, 2005


Saskatchewan’s Population Drops Again, Despite Economy

Given the fact that we are supposed to be in the middle of an economic boom, according to the Calvert government, you would think our population would be on the rise. Not so say the latest population numbers out of Statistics Canada released this week. The report shows that in the first quarter of 2005, Saskatchewan’s population dropped by almost 200 people. At the same time, our neighbouring provinces of Manitoba and Alberta saw their populations increase by 1,400 and 13,000 people respectively. Saskatchewan’s drop in population follows a previous decline of nearly 1,000 people in the last quarter of 2004.

The blame for this decline lies squarely with Lorne Calvert and the NDP government. They just can’t seem to get the fundamentals right and create conditions in our economy that are favourable to job creation, investment and growth in the private sector. It a sad, sad day when Saskatchewan appears to be on the cusp of something good, yet the Calvert government can’t get its priorities right to ensure our population goes up. If Lorne Calvert can’t convince more people that Saskatchewan is the place to be at a time like this, then when can he? Given our great potential, the Saskatchewan Party believes we deserve better than the dismal population numbers Calvert and company have served up.

Saskatchewan Party Caucus Reveals Better Minimum Wage Plan: Reduce Income Tax For All Low Income Earners and Spread Burden
When an increase in the minimum wage comes around, it should be both fair and shared by all stakeholders. On June 22, the Official Opposition Saskatchewan Party unveiled the Calvert NDP government’s plan to raise the minimum wage in three stages to $7.95 – a plan that puts all the burden on businesses and you, the consumer.

The Saskatchewan Party took the opportunity to present its own plan that is fair and shared by all stakeholders. The plan includes a smaller minimum wage increase, but includes an extensive tax cut, which means low income earners will keep more money in their pockets than they would under the Calvert government plan.

The Calvert government plan will improve the lives of just over 7,000 people who earn minimum wage. The Saskatchewan Party plan has a positive impact on those people’s lives, as well as the lives of tens of thousands of people who earn less than $35,000.

The details of the Saskatchewan Party’s minimum wage plan include:

  • A three-stage increase of the minimum wage: $7.10 in Sept, $7.38 in 2006, and $7.58 in 2007;
  • People earning minimum wage pay almost no income tax;
  • People earning less than $35,000 pay less income tax; and,
  • This translates into more take-home pay for all low income earners.
Once again, it’s the Saskatchewan Party that is truly looking out for the best interests of Saskatchewan people. When all things are considered, this minimum wage plan is better than the Calvert government’s because it actually helps out more people and shares the burden among all stakeholders. It’s the kind of responsible and balanced plan good government is supposed to provide. Unfortunately, the Calvert government is all out of new ideas.

Here’s what one pundit said about the Saskatchewan Party’s plan for low-income earners:

“This time around, the Opposition Saskatchewan Party has a good idea. Provide a smaller increase to the wage, but increase the basic personal exemption on the income tax side. In that way, the working poor get a hand up and business takes a smaller hit in the pocketbook. Who says there are no new ideas in politics?”

Randy Burton,
Saskatoon Star Phoenix,
June 25, 2005

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