Election wish list: Economic recovery a top priority for Saskatchewan industries

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Election wish list: Economic recovery a top priority for Saskatchewan industries
WATCH: Three groups representing some of Saskatchewan’s biggest industries have laid out their priorities for the upcoming provincial election – Sep 22, 2020

Some of Saskatchewan’s key sectors have laid out their priorities for the provincial election, putting economic recovery at the top of the wish list.

“Recovery and resilience post-pandemic is critical to us,” said Steve McLellan, Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce CEO.

After a brutal six months for local businesses, the chamber wants political candidates to commit to sustaining and growing programs that support business owners and their staff.

“Businesses generally are quite nervous right now,” McLellan told Global News.

“We’re going to lose some businesses. We want to make sure, though, that as often as we can, every business gets all the support necessary.”

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The chamber is also calling on candidates to commit to decreasing corporate income tax from 12 per cent to 8 per cent — the same tax rate as Alberta.

“We’re in a less competitive position with Alberta,” McLellan said.

“When we have the evaluations done by businesses that are looking to expand…, Saskatchewan is high on the radar.”

The construction industry is also prioritizing economic recovery and investment attraction.

The Saskatchewan Construction Association (SKCA) said it wants the province to do more to support local workers.

“Saskatchewan work should go to Saskatchewan companies,” SKCA president Mark Cooper said.

SKCA said there are about 44,000 construction workers in the province, down from about 50,000 last year.

Cooper said it’s key the government help create jobs by viewing construction as a service industry.

“We build things for other people, and so the success of the construction industry is dependent on the success of agriculture, manufacturing, oil and gas and… all of the other critical industries in Saskatchewan,” he said.

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“When that happens and those private sector folks are investing, that means there’s construction.”

Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan (APAS) president Todd Lewis said farming has been an economic driver during the pandemic.

“Hopefully agriculture is a big part of these party platforms just like agriculture is a big part of Saskatchewan,” he said.

APAS is calling for investment in rural cell and internet service, along with programs to help farmers with risk management.

APAS said it sent it’s recommendations to all registered political parties in Saskatchewan and will track their responses.

The provincial election is scheduled for Oct. 26.

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