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Legislative Report (1 March 2012)

1 March 2012

Spring is often referred to as the season of renewal. That phrase has special significance for our government as the spring session of the legislature gets underway. In the coming weeks, we will have the opportunity to renew and honour the trust that you placed in us last fall.

The 2012-13 budget will be balanced and contain sustainable government programming. It will keep our campaign promises, including a scholarship to help high school graduates cover the costs of post-secondary education, a tax credit for first time homebuyers, and expansions to the both the PST exemption on children’s clothing and the active families benefit. Our finances remain strong compared to other provinces and countries, but we need to continue to control government spending to make sure it stays that way. That is why we are working to limit overall government spending increases to under five per cent. During the last election, we saw a clear difference between the spending spree with taxpayers’ dollar the NDP wanted, and the cautious spending the SaskParty promised; through careful planning we will not only keep that promise; we will also keep the Saskatchewan Advantage.

In other recent economic news, we have all seen the struggles in Europe; not only for workers but also for investors. That is one of the reasons behind a trip to Ireland and England I am taking with  Immigration Minister Rob Norris promoting Saskatchewan jobs and business opportunities.  We will be meeting with representatives of large multinationals based in the UK to promote the advantage of doing business in Saskatchewan’s growing economy. When in London I will also deliver a keynote address to a luncheon hosted by the Canada-U.K. Chamber of Commerce promoting Saskatchewan as an excellent investment opportunity. We are not only looking for investors, but also skilled labour to bridge the shortage we are experiencing in many sectors. Minister Norris is traveling to Ireland with a delegation of 27 Saskatchewan employers, taking part in the Working Abroad Expo in Dublin and Cork. The Saskatchewan pavilion has more than 275 skilled jobs that are available immediately for workers. Our economy is strong, but we still have plenty of room to grow.

One area that has always played an important part in Saskatchewan’s economy is our agricultural industry. In honour of this, March has been proclaimed Rural Woman’s month in Saskatchewan. Women have always played a significant role on their families’ farms; through their hard work, cooperation, and the leadership. Rural Woman’s Month will be observed in conjunctions with other events held by women’s groups throughout the province.

As our province grows, we are always looking for the best way to prepare our youth for the future. Improving student achievement is a priority for our government and mathematics plays a large role in accomplishing this important goal. Since the New Year, newly elected MLAs and former educators, Russ Marchuk and Gene Makowsky have travelled across the province to host eight regional consultations to hear from our front line educators, including both classroom teachers and school administrators, about the effective instruction of the renewed math curriculum. Our government is now calling on parents to submit their views, please go to the Ministry of Education website at www.education.gov.sk.ca and click on the feature titled "Math Feedback" to give your input. The link for math feedback will be operational beginning February 27th and available throughout the month of March.

If you have a question about this Legislative Report or any other matter, just Contact Donna.

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