(29 Aug 2012)
From combines in the field, to moms and dads shopping for school supplies and families enjoying a few extra days of summer on the long weekend, the signs of the season are everywhere. As summer turns to fall, MLAs are wrapping up consultations with constituents, stakeholders and community groups on how to keep Saskatchewan strong and growing. What we heard was that while you are overall pretty happy with the job your government is doing, there are still challenges. You told us to keep investing in infrastructure – highways, healthcare and schools – but to do so within the context of a balanced budget. While the rest of the world struggles under the weight of debt and deficit, Saskatchewan’s economy remains in relatively good shape and you want us to keep it that way.
To do that, we need a plan that reflects Saskatchewan in 2012. We have more opportunities for young people, the lowest taxes for families and support for the most vulnerable. The record investment our government made in highways, healthcare and education during our first term has positioned us well to meet the challenges of growth, but there’s always more work to be done.
That's where this new plan comes in. It will continue to build on our record of balanced budgets, lower taxes and debt reduction, but it will also be about more than just dollars and cents. It has to be. Yes, Saskatchewan has been blessed with amazing growth, but equally as important is what we do with that growth. We need to set achievable goals in terms of the provision of efficient, high-quality healthcare, maintaining and improving our infrastructure and supporting vulnerable people.
When we were in opposition, we saw what happens when a government does not set attainable goals; they close hospitals, let highways fall into a state of serious disrepair and reduce or eliminate services important to Saskatchewan people. One important goal we continue to work toward is ensuring seniors have the support they need. This week saw a sod turning in Biggar for a new 54-bed long-term care facility. The construction on this $22.8 million facility is expected to begin in late summer 2012, with the scheduled completion date in early 2014. This new facility will replace the Biggar Diamond Lodge nursing home which was built in 1966. This care home will provide the residents of Biggar and area with patient-and-family-centered care, while allowing seniors to remain in the community they love.
In a matter of weeks, Premier Brad Wall will announce a new growth strategy based on the feedback you provided to MLAs over the last few months. Working together, we will take action to ensure Saskatchewan remains the best place in Canada to live, work and raise a family. We will keep the Saskatchewan Advantage.
If you have a question about this Legislative Report or any other matter, just Contact Donna.
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