The 2012 Throne Speech was delivered last week by Lieutenant Governor Vaughn Solomon Schofield.
“In this session, our government’s priorities will be investing in infrastructure, addressing the skilled labour shortage and ensuring Saskatchewan remains competitive, while maintaining fiscal discipline and a balanced budget,” said Premier Brad Wall in a prepared release. Yorkton MLA Greg Ottenbreit said the new session of the Saskatchewan Legislature will focus on meeting the challenges and opportunities of a growing province.
“The theme of the Throne Speech would be growth, both population and economic,” he told Yorkton This Week. “Additionally, (it will) recognize that there are challenges with growth, and put plans in place to respond to those challenges as best as possible, with a focus on balanced budgets and eventual further debt reduction.”
Ottenbreit said the focus reflects what citizens want.
“Over the summer, all government MLA’s were tasked by the Premier to talk to individuals, groups and organizations on the direction they wanted to see the province go as well as what they envisioned would be the course to get there,” he said. “From those consultations, our document ‘Saskatchewan Plan for Growth…vision 2020 and beyond’ was developed. This Throne Speech is very reflective of that document.”
The Throne Speech’s key elements reflect managing growth.
“The main point of the Throne Speech would be to focus on what needs to be done to keep Saskatchewan competitive and keep our economic and growth momentum going, but remembering the reason for that growth and strong economy is to allow for a better quality of life for Saskatchewan people,” he said. “This partly accomplished with targeted investments in infrastructure, as was communicated through our summer consultations and outlined in the ‘Saskatchewan Plan for Growth’, infrastructure including not only highways and roads, but also other things such as hospitals and schools.”
Ottenbreit said the message of the Throne Speech is a good one for his local constituency.
“There are many aspects of the Throne Speech that would be of importance to Yorkton and our residents,” he said. “Our population is growing and we have a lot of business and commercial development.
“Additional supports in education and those that need help will be welcome to families, students, our senior citizens, and our residents with physical and intellectual challenges.
“Initiatives in health care will make the system more efficient financially and operatively, and put more professionals, doctors, nurses and nurse practitioners, and others where we need them most. STARS (Shock Trauma Air Rescue Service) for example is proving very effective in delivering speedy trauma care where and when needed.
“Investments and a focus on infrastructure will help meet some of those growth pressures, and a reduction in our business tax rate by 2015, for example, will make us much more competitive with our neighboring provinces and others.”