Lieutenant Governor Russ Mirasty outlined the provincial government’s priorities for the second session of the 29th Legislative Assembly during his Throne Speech Wednesday afternoon.
Some of the highlights include encouraging and attracting new investment in the province by enhancing the Saskatchewan Value-Added Agriculture Incentive, Providing financing to Indigenous businesses through a new Saskatchewan Indigenous Investment Finance Corporation, and launching a new Sustainable Saskatchewan brand that will promote the high quality and
environmental sustainability of products produced in Saskatchewan.
The Throne Speech also indicated the government’s commitment to reduce crime this session will include the addition of 60 new police positions, as well as the creation of a new Provincial Protective Services Unit that will bring together Conservation officers, Highway Patrol officers, Provincial Capital Commission (PCC) community safety officers, Safer Community and Neighbourhoods (SCAN) officers and deputy sheriffs working in the provincial court system. The province will also look to create the Saskatchewan Trafficking Response Team (STRT), which will target the trafficking of illegal drugs and weapons into the province and combat human trafficking, as well as the Warrant Enforcement and Suppression team (WEST) to target dangerous offenders with outstanding warrants in an effort to bring them to justice before they commit further crimes.
There is a focus on Truth and Reconciliation in the Throne Speech as well, as the province will be providing $2-million to the FSIN to investigate undocumented deaths and burials at former residential school sites. The province has also committed to building a memorial at Government House to honour those impacted by the residential school system, and will sign a new online gaming agreement with FSIN. The province will also be installing highway signs to mark the boundaries of Treaty 4 and Treaty 6 territories to help raise awareness about the Treaties in Saskatchewan.
The speech noted that despite the challenging year of COVID-19 and a drought affecting many farmers, billions of dollars from several projects were invested into the province this year.
Premier Scott Moe says the upcoming session will highlight the bright economic future of the province. “When you look at the investment that has come into this province over the course of these last few months, it’s record setting, and this going to create not only construction jobs and opportunities for people my age, younger and older, but they’re going to create opportunities for people who may want to move here as well.”
The Throne Speech concludes with a commitment to building a “stronger, more independent” Saskatchewan by fully participating in any upcoming negotiations about changes with the federal equalization formula, and considering other measures to make Saskatchewan more autonomous, such as provincial collection of corporate taxes and the creation of a provincial police force to compliment the services provided by municipal police forces and the RCMP.
A highlight of the Throne speech is the province continue to thrive despite the adversity that it’s facing according to the Premier ” The Throne speech is about building a better province of Saskatchewan, a stronger, a safer, a healthier a more educated and a more independent Saskatchewan and of course our most immediate priority continues to be the COVID-19 situation here in the province.”
The second session of the 29th Legislative Assembly will run until Dec. 9.