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Saskatchewan throne speech keys in on provincial autonomy and economic growth

Click to play video: 'Saskatchewan throne speech keys in on provincial autonomy and economic growth'
Saskatchewan throne speech keys in on provincial autonomy and economic growth
Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe spoke on Wednesday about his party's proposed Saskatchewan First Act, which aims to reinforce the jurisdictional lines of resource ownership. Moe said, "the over-arching focus of the bill is to reassert our constitutional right to the develop natural resources." – Oct 26, 2022

The 2022 speech from the throne was delivered by Lieutenant Governor Russ Mirasty at the Saskatchewan Legislative Assembly on Wednesday, touching on economic growth, as well as drawing the line on the jurisdiction of resources.

The Saskatchewan First Act, which the speech says will defend the province’s right to control its natural resources, will be introduced, aiming to further provincial autonomy.

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“Our government’s goal is to ensure that strong growth continues and that it’s growth that works for everyone,” Premier Scott Moe said.

“That means reinvesting in health, education and affordability measures, paying down debt, and defending our economic autonomy so Saskatchewan continues to grow and create jobs.”

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It was also noted in the speech that Saskatchewan is seeing “record new investment” and is “leading the country in economic growth.”

The speech said that the federal government has been intruding on the province’s jurisdiction under the constitution.

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Scott Moe hints at court battle after feds reject Saskatchewan’s carbon tax plan

Moe said he wants to point out where these intrusions are.

“We’re seeing that time and time again, since the case with respect to carbon taxation, and so we feel it’s necessary to reassert our jurisdiction as a province over our ability to develop our natural resources,” Moe added.

“My government will amend the province’s Constitution to state – in no uncertain terms – that Saskatchewan continues to retain exclusive jurisdiction over its own natural resources. This will be done by amending The Saskatchewan Act, similar to how Quebec recently unilaterally amended the Constitution to declare that Quebec is a nation and its official language is French,” read the speech.

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“It has been indicated by the Prime Minister that Quebec can make that change, and we expect that we will be able to do the same,” Moe said.

The Saskatchewan government also noted the Saskatchewan–Canada Immigration Accord will be signed and sent to the federal government for ratification, aiming to give the province authority over immigration.

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The speech also said this accord will help address gaps in the labour market, and meet the province’s economic needs.

The speech added that the province is on track to reach a population of 1.2 million people this year.

“In a world plunged into uncertainty, Saskatchewan is a reliable, indispensable supplier of food, fuel and fertilizer to millions of people around the globe. My government is charting a course that ensures our economy continues to grow and that everyone in Saskatchewan benefits from that growth,” Moe said.

“More people, more jobs and more investment in government services. That’s growth that works for everyone.”

The speech noted that the province had a 4.1 per cent unemployment rate –  the lowest in Canada.

It also outlined growth in the potash industry, the oil and gas sector, as well as mining.

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Moe said he knows they need to reduce emissions in industries, but said they want to attract investment to the province.

“The intent here is to provide investor certainty so that we can continue to attract that investment, attract those jobs, and really unlock the potential we have in the province,” Moe said.

NDP opposition leader Carla Beck sent a statement regarding the throne speech, saying that it falls short on addressing the most pressing issues in the province.

“After spending the last four months traveling the province, our caucus knows what the most pressing issues for Saskatchewan people are,” Beck said.

“Health facilities and hospital beds are closed across our province. It is near impossible to find a family doctor. People are struggling to find good, mortgage-paying jobs. Families are struggling to make ends meet, and instead of relief, the Sask. Party is making life more expensive by hiking taxes and fees and raising utility rates. The Throne Speech does not measure up to the challenges Saskatchewan people are facing. In fact, it eliminates hundreds of good paying full-time jobs through the SLGA.”

“The Throne Speech offered no new measures to combat the generational affordability crisis or the province’s broken healthcare system, despite soaring windfall revenues. The majority of the measures announced in the speech are recycled announcements. New measures are based on Scott Moe’s white paper — a document that has been widely dismissed and mocked by economists and experts.”

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“When you produce a document that is so clearly flawed, it hinders your ability to attract investment and be a credible advocate for the people of our province. The white paper wasn’t created to get results for Saskatchewan — it was designed to distract from Scott Moe and his government’s failures,” Beck added.

“Saskatchewan has limitless potential and a great story to share. That’s the Saskatchewan story we’ll be selling to the world as Scott Moe’s out-of-touch government plays political games.”

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