(15 December 2011)
With the short but important fall session of the legislature behind us, our thoughts now turn to what is truly important: time with friends and family over the holidays. It reminds all of us of why we chose a life of public service. While MLAs come from all walks of life, we have one thing in common: the desire to serve the people of Saskatchewan as best we can.
Over the last two weeks, our government laid out the steps we will take over the next four years to continue to move Saskatchewan forward. In the speech from the Throne, we re-affirmed our commitments to responsibly manage the province’s historic growth, improve the quality of life for all Saskatchewan people, make life more affordable and to be accountable to you: the electorate. Over the course of the legislative session, our government kept several promises we made during the recent election campaign through the introduction of several pieces of important legislation. We followed through on our promise to provide more support for people with diabetes, by moving two long-acting insulins from Exception Drug Status onto the provincial drug formulary and to expand the Children’s Insulin Pump Program to cover residents up to the age of 25. We did what we said we would do.
With the large increase in economic activity in Saskatchewan in recent years, we introduced a motion regarding the creation of a lobbyist registry. With historic growth come new challenges, including paid government lobbyists playing a greater role in our province. We also promised during the campaign to continue to improve the quality of life for Saskatchewan people with disabilities through further enhancements to the Saskatchewan Assured Income for Disability (SAID) program. Starting in January, more than 3,000 SAID recipients who live in residential care settings will receive a $50 per month increase to their benefits. Over the next four years benefits for those living independently will increase by $350 per month.
Legislation was introduced to make a getting a university degree more accessible. Currently, only the University of Saskatchewan and the University of Regina can issue degrees. Under this new legislation, degree-granting status could be expanded to other post-secondary institutions in the province. With more and more of Saskatchewan’s young people choosing to start careers and raise families here, it’s important they be provided with every available educational opportunity.
We kept our word on an important promises we made that will help first-time home buyers and families. Effective January 1st, the First-Time Homebuyers Tax Credit comes into effect. It will provide a $1,100 non-refundable tax credit by applying a provincial tax credit of 11 per cent to the first $10,000 of an eligible home purchase. Also becoming effective in the New Year is an expansion of the Active Families Benefit. It has been expanded to include all children under the age of 18. The Active Families Benefit provides an income tax benefit of up to $150 per child to help with the costs of cultural, recreational and sports activities.
And, finally, we introduced legislation that keeps the Premier’s commitment for the 2012-13 school year to begin after the Labour Day long weekend. Amendments to The Education Act, 1995, mean the earliest students will begin the school year is the first day following Labour Day and the school year will end by June 30. Over the coming weeks, the world slows down providing us with an opportunity to reflect and give thanks. While I am always thankful for the love and support of friends and family, I would be remiss if I did not also thank you for your support. On November 7, 2011, you made history by giving the Saskatchewan Party a strong mandate to lead our province into the future. Over the next four years, I will do everything in my power to honour that trust, each and every day.
Thank you and Merry Christmas!
If you have a question about this Legislative Report or any other matter, just Contact Donna.
Past Legislative Reports