The Saskatchewan government released its blueprint for Saskatchewan over the next year as the annual Throne Speech was presented in the Legislature.
"Saskatchewan continues to grow – more people, more jobs, more economic activity," said Wall in a release. "Growth creates many new opportunities and it also creates many new challenges. Our government is working hard to meet those challenges and ensure all Saskatchewan people share in the benefits of a growing economy."
Some of the new initiatives outlined in the Throne Speech include:
• New Collaborative Emergency Centres in Shaunavon, Spiritwood, Wakaw and Canora;
• New "hot spotting" pilot programs to take pressure off emergency rooms in Saskatoon and Regina by providing more appropriate services to assist high-risk, high-use patients who repeatedly show up in emergency rooms;
• A new Student First approach in education that will include wide-ranging consultations with students, teachers, parents and administrators;
• Further highway twinning in high traffic areas;
• New measures to improve traffic safety and reduce fatalities, with a particular focus on tougher penalties for drinking and driving;
• Expansion of the HeadStart on a Home program to encourage construction of rental properties;
• A new Life Lease Program though Saskatchewan Housing Corporation to improve housing options for seniors;
• 1,000 new training seats, including 300 new apprenticeship seats and 700 new Adult Basic Education seats;
• A new Western Canadian Livestock Price Insurance Program for cattle and hog producers;
• Amendments to The Saskatchewan Employment Act to include the province's essential services law, which was recently upheld by the Court of Appeal.
Yorkton MLA Greg Ottenbreit said while the Throne Speech did not include specific programming focused on Yorkton, the over-arching themes outlined will have an impact locally.
As an example, while focused on Regina and Saskatoon, Ottenbreit said the new 'hot-spotting' initiative to help "take some of the pressure off emergency rooms," could have a trickle down effect locally. He reasoned making emergency rooms more effective and efficient will help the overall health care system.
In terms of area health care, Ottenbreit noted that Canora will be the site of one of the new Collaborative Emergency Centres.
The 'student first' approach to education is one fashioned on the 'patient first' idea which has been at the forefront of recent health care reform, and Ottenbreit said it is an idea which should help "better deliver education in the province."
The addition of passing lanes on sections of Highway #10, while a distance from Yorkton, will have an impact here since many people from East Central Saskatchewan use the highway to go to Regina, said Ottenbreit.
"I'm looking forward to where that (passing lanes additions) might be expanded to in the future," he said.
Housing initiatives are also an area Ottenbreit said could be positive for city. With the announcement of further investment in the housing headstart program, and changes to how it can be applied, he said he hopes to see rental unit expansion, "which is something we still need in Yorkton."
Similarly the new Life Lease Program though Saskatchewan Housing Corporation can offer options for seniors in the city, said Ottenbreit.
The expansion of apprenticeship seats is also positive for Yorkton. Ottenbreit said he hopes the program "expands our apprenticeship seats in Yorkton."
Ottenbreit said the seats also dovetail nicely with the recent announcement of provincial funding for a Parkland College Trades and Technology Centre.
Premier Wall said the Speech outlines a plan.
"These are just some of the actions our government will be taking to address the challenges of growth, with more to come in the next provincial budget in March," he said in a release. "Growth creates many challenges, but they are sure preferable to the challenges of decline that Saskatchewan was facing just a few years ago."
Ottenbreit said a Throne Speech is less about specifics, and is more "a blueprint for the coming year," he added "the budget outlines where money is going to be spent."