Ambitious Legislative Agenda Outlined in Premier Wall's Last Throne Speech
The new session of the Legislature opened today with the government outlining a busy legislative agenda in the Throne Speech.
“Saskatchewan has enjoyed a decade of growth and our government is working to ensure our province keeps growing stronger,” Premier Brad Wall said. “Today’s Throne Speech outlines our plan to strengthen our economy, continue to improve important services like health care and education, protect our communities, and carefully manage the province’s finances.”
The Throne Speech outlined the government’s plans to:
- Fulfill its commitment to provide individualized funding to children under six with Autism Spectrum Disorder;
- Improve the rate of organ donation in the province through a new program led by donor physicians;
- Continue reducing health care administration costs through the consolidation of the province’s 12 regional health authorities into a single Saskatchewan Health Authority;
- Introduce legislation that will protect the right to school choice by invoking the notwithstanding clause of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms;
- Introduce legislation to facilitate the federal government’s legalization of the use of non-medical marijuana, even though the province continues to have concerns about the federal government’s rushed timetable;
- Work with municipalities to allow ride sharing-services like Uber and Lyft to operate in Saskatchewan;
- Amend The Privacy Act to allow greater protection against the unauthorized electronic distribution of intimate images;
- Create a process to improve the disclosure of decisions made by the Office of Residential Tenancies (Rentalsman’s Office) to better protect the rights of both tenants and landlords;
- Repeal the provisions of Bill 40 that allow for the sale of a partial equity position in a Crown Corporation;
- Continue to improve internet and cellular coverage throughout rural Saskatchewan;
- Consider a range of retaliatory trade measures that could be implemented in response to Alberta’s beer rebate program that discriminates against Saskatchewan brewers;
- Focus Saskatchewan’s business tax reductions on small businesses by returning the corporate tax rate to 12 per cent – the same as other western provinces – and raising the small business income threshold to $600,000, the highest in Canada;
- Introduce an Agriculture Value Added New Growth Incentive to attract more investment;
- Introduce further actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while continuing to oppose the imposition of a carbon tax in Saskatchewan, including through a legal challenge if necessary;
- Create a new provincial park in the Porcupine Hills, southeast of Hudson Bay; and
- Introduce a new Seniors Education Property Tax Deferral Program that will give seniors with household incomes under $70,000 the option to defer the education portion of property tax on their homes.
“Even after a decade of growth, there is still a lot of work to do and our government has many new ideas and initiatives we will be introducing during this session,” Wall said. “I look forward to a vigorous debate on our agenda and to moving forward with our government’s plan to keep Saskatchewan growing stronger.”
Wall thanked Lieutenant Governor Vaughn Solomon Schofield for delivering what is likely to be her last Throne Speech, as a new Lieutenant Governor is expected to be appointed in the coming months.