REGINA – The Saskatchewan NDP is drawing attention to a trend that’s played out in the province before: a net loss in interprovincial migration.
Statistics Canada says 59,560 people have left Saskatchewan for other provinces since 2013, with half of them choosing to live in Alberta.
Factor in the number of people who have moved here from other provinces and it’s a loss of 5,639 residents to outmigration inside Canadian borders.
“Maybe young people go out to experience another part of Canada and the experience that comes with it. We need to be bringing people from across Canada and presenting that opportunity to build lives here,” said deputy NDP leader Trent Wotherspoon. “This is a government that hasn’t got the job done where it counts.”
“It’s a concerning trend that deserves attention.”
Overall, Saskatchewan’s population grew by 5,242 people in the third quarter to a total of 1,138,879 – the bulk of it coming from international migration.
It comes at a time when Saskatchewan Party attack ads airing on TV cite population growth under the party since 2007, pointing at prior losses under the NDP government.
“The premier can launch whatever attack he wants, but we’d urge him to start looking at the reality under his government and that’s that we’re losing people from Saskatchewan to the rest of Canada in a big way,” Wotherspoon said. “It’s a concerning trend that deserves attention from his government and deserves action.”
When asked earlier this week about people leaving the province, Premier Brad Wall wasn’t worried, noting small population growth overall came at a time of challenge in the energy sector.
“Some folks are still moving to B.C. to retire,” Wall said. But the NDP dispute that, saying most people who have left Saskatchewan are under 65-years old.
Wall called the losses “relatively small.”
A government spokesperson said Friday that population under Wall’s government has grown more over the past eight years “than the previous nine premiers’ terms combined.”
Jeremy Harrison, the minister responsible for immigration, called the previous NDP record “abysmal” and said he was disappointed the Opposition would discount immigration from overseas.
“We see immigration within Canada or outside our borders as equally valuable.”