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Thursday, 26 May 2011 09:19

Residents benefit from most recent legislative session: Wall

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By Chris Jaster — This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The final legislative session before the 2011 provincial election was beneficial for the people of Saskatchewan, according to Premier Brad Wall.

Reflecting on the session that ended May 19, Wall was quick to point out due to income tax changes made in this year’s budget a family of four in Saskatchewan will take home a higher percentage of their income than anywhere in Canada.

Wall, the MLA for Swift Current, also pointed out there is less education tax being paid by producers and people in the cities as well as less debt. He said the government now has $700 million in its savings account and it’s making significant infrastructure investments, which includes the new public school to be built in Swift Current.

As happy as Wall was with the accomplishments and benefits for the population, he admits there are still some things the government needs to work.

“We’re making progress in the housing industry. In our community, we have a high vacancy rate so we don’t hear about it as much as the MLA of Swift Current, but I certainly hear about it from the rest of the province,” said Wall. “Although vacancy rates are loosening up a little bit, we have seen over 800 public government-built units open up, 1,000 under construction with many more to come and our five-point housing plan is having an impact already.

“We need to continue investing in health care. As you know, there are still doctor shortages in our province, really across the country. There are over 200 more doctors practising today in Saskatchewan than there were when our government took over, but there are still shortages. So we’re working on physician recruitment and training more doctors here at home and opening up to other countries in terms of foreign-trained doctors, but we continue to work on those issues as well.”

Even though the fall election means there won’t be another session this year, Wall said his government will work on these and other issues until the writ is dropped in October.

That does not, however, mean Wall and his cohorts aren’t preparing for the election.

“We’re going to continue offering good government to the people of Saskatchewan until the election,” he said. “I think both parties are putting the finishing touches on platforms and all our candidates are nominated.

“People in the fall are going to have a clear question: Are we going to move forward with economic growth or do we go backwards to nationalize the potash industry? Mr. Lingenfelter basically said that bluntly in the Melville Advance that they want to increase royalties to the point where companies, if they leave because of it, then the government will step in and run the potash industry. We know how far that set us back in the ’70s. There are certain things that belong in the ’70s. I would say disco and nationalizing industries are two of them.”

All the bills received royal assent May 19. The provincial election is set for Nov. 7.

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