(4 April 2012)
Keeping the Saskatchewan Advantage
An important facet of Keeping the Saskatchewan Advantage is properly funding services that are important to Saskatchewan people. This week we announced we were keeping one of our key campaign promises: increasing funding for the Saskatchewan Cancer Agency. Our commitment this year to the Cancer Agency is $113.8 million, an almost 14 per cent increase from 2011-12. In 2012-13, it is expected this funding will provide 30,000 cancer drug treatments, 39,000 mammograms and 6,000 new patient appointments at the cancers centres in Saskatoon and Regina. The latest data shows the number of people waiting to see a medical oncologist in Saskatchewan is down almost 50 per cent and that almost no cancer patient is waiting longer than eight weeks for their first appointment.
Keeping the Saskatchewan Advantage is also about investing in the future. To that end, we are providing $1 million for a project at the U of R which will include student housing, child care and other amenities, including increased parking. Over the past four years, we have increased our investment in student housing by more than 3,000 per cent – today, there are more than 1,000 new beds for students across the province. Promise made, promise kept.
You created the Saskatchewan Advantage, which includes creating the business environment that has the world looking at our province as the best place to invest. On March 20, Glencore International, in a deal that includes two Canadian companies, announced its takeover bid for Regina-based Viterra, a leader in the international grain marketing industry. At that time, Premier Brad Wall announced that just like during the proposed potash takeover, we would conduct a very thorough analysis to determine whether this deal was also in the best interest of Saskatchewan people. On March 29, the Premier announced that Informa Economics would conduct an independent review looking at all aspects of the deal, including employment and what effect it might have on the province’s economy and revenues. The deadline for their report is May 7 – it will be released to the public a few days later.
More good news on the job front. According to a new StatsCan report, average weekly earnings in Saskatchewan are at an all-time high of $907.44. That’s an increase of 2.7 per cent over where we were at the same time last year. And, if the latest number of hits on Saskjobs.ca is any indication, people around the world know that Saskatchewan is the place to build a career. There were more than a million hits on the website in March. Close to 14,000 of those visits came from Ireland – further proof that Premier Brad Wall and Employment Immigration Minister Rob Norris’ recruitment mission to the Emerald Isle last month continues to pay off.
In conclusion, I am pleased to announce the return of a very popular program that only seniors can take advantage of. For the entire month of May, seniors can ride anywhere on the STC bus network for only $10 one-way. Spring in Saskatchewan is a beautiful season to enjoy time with friends and families in our great province –by providing this service we give seniors an opportunity to do just that.
If you have a question about this Legislative Report or any other matter, just Contact Glen.
Past Legislative Reports