Editorial - Throne speech underwhelming

The Saskatchewan government delivered its 2018 Throne Speech last week, but don’t feel too bad if you missed it since the document didn’t exactly unveil anything surprising, or even new for that matter.

And that is perhaps the most disappointing aspect of the Speech.

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Certainly in recent years Throne Speeches have evolved from being an unveiling of upcoming legislation, and more the rhetoric of governments patting themselves on the back for a job well done, and for having the right vision for the province’s future.

The situation is not isolated to a government of any particular party, but simply an evolution of a document increasingly lacking in details.

But this was a Throne Speech we may have expected just a little more from simply because it is the first from the Saskatchewan Party under the leadership of Scott Moe.

It was an opportunity for Moe to begin to really put his own stamp on the party, to make a statement through the Throne Speech that he is a new leader, with fresh new ideas to carry his party, and the province forward.

You would have to be a very loyal member of the Saskatchewan Party to glean that sort of fresh look hidden in the Throne Speech.

There was instead a lot of attention paid to what the federal government is doing with the proposed carbon tax, an initiative the Moe-led government has said it will fight in the courts.

The Saskatchewan Party has certainly set up the Liberal government in Ottawa as its villain heading toward the next provincial election, with the carbon tax clearly the boogey man it will try to convince voters only they can deal with to Saskatchewan’s benefit.

But a Throne Speech should be about what the government will do in regards to things it actually has control over.

How is the province doing after major municipal government finding cuts, an increase in the provincial sales tax, the dismantling of a provincial bus service to tie communities together, and a list of other changes made under the current government?

And where does a Moe led government see things going moving forward.

The Speech outlined policy, including:

• To deliver a balanced budget for 2019-20;
• To complete the new 284 bed, state-of-the-art Saskatchewan Hospital North Battleford to help those facing significant mental health needs;
• To continue to improve response times and enhance officer visibility in rural Saskatchewan through the Protection and Response Team (PRT), which has seen conservation officers and highway patrol officers assist with more than 1,300 PRT-related actions since April.

But these are not new, merely continuing things already in the pipeline.

It seems a missed opportunity for Moe to show residents a bit more of his vision, but perhaps that will start to be seen in the Legislature in the weeks ahead. 

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