Joe Hargrave, MLA for Prince Albert Carlton
A productive legislative session has come to an end with a number of new measures and legislation that will strengthen Saskatchewan. This includes improved WCB coverage for firefighters and legislative amendments that will improve enforcement of child support orders.
The Tobacco Control Amendment Act, 2019, will bring vaping products in line with existing tobacco legislation, while The Opioid Damages and Health Care Costs Recovery Act, will also give Saskatchewan the ability to have direct action against opioid manufacturers and distributors.
Our government is also taking action to get tougher on distracted driving – a serious safety concern that kills and injures people. In 2018 alone, we saw 774 injuries and 22 deaths due to distracted driving or driver inattention. Starting in February, the cost of a ticket will more than double, and the cost of subsequent tickets will escalate.
One of the local highlights of the latest legislative session came late last month when I had the opportunity to attend the grand opening of a new clinic here in Prince Albert to help those in need of addictions services and support.
The Rapid Access to Addiction Medicine (RAAM) clinic provides people with addictions challenges quick access to specialized services including team of physicians, nurses and counsellors to help with their treatment journey.
The Prince Albert clinic, at 101 – 15th St. E., is the first of its kind in Saskatchewan. The 2019-20 Budget provides $1.6 million to support the launch of Prince Albert’s RAAM clinic, as well as two others in Regina and Saskatoon.
RAAM clinics have been established in other parts of Canada, including Ontario and Manitoba, where they have helped to reduce emergency department visits, shortened wait times and improved outcomes for patients.
Importantly, the fall legislative session set the stage for a new decade of growth with the introduction of a growth plan that will serve as a roadmap for a growing province of 1.4 million people and a strong economy with 100,000 new jobs.
Premier Moe has also outlined steps that Saskatchewan is taking to advance our economic future, and to assert provincial autonomy. This includes an announcement that Saskatchewan will be aggressively advancing our own trade interests by establishing trade offices in Japan, India and Singapore.
You can learn more at saskgrowthplan.ca.
The provincial budget continues to be the right balance for Saskatchewan. The Mid-Year Financial Report, released just prior to the end of session, shows that our government remains on track to balance the 2019-20 budget, with a projected increase in the budget surplus.
Meanwhile, the NDP continues to demonstrate weak leadership with no commitment to balance the budget. In fact, their Finance critic recently admitted that the NDP would run deficit budgets if they were in government.
Fiscal responsibility is a key focus in Saskatchewan’s Growth Plan for The Next Decade. Your Saskatchewan Party government will keep the budget balanced, keep taxes low, and ensure Saskatchewan remains strong for many years to come.
As always, if you have questions, concerns or comments, or if you need assistance with government programs or services, please contact my MLA office at 306-922-2828 or visit us at Bay 4 – 406 Industrial Drive in Prince Albert.