Throne Speech Focuses on Pandemic Response, Keeping Campaign Commitments
The ongoing pandemic response and fulfilling the government’s election commitments are the two main focuses of the 2020 Speech from the Throne, entitled Strong Saskatchewan.
Lieutenant Governor Russ Mirasty delivered the Throne Speech today, opening the first session of the new Legislative Assembly that was elected on October 26.
Premier Scott Moe said a hallmark of this government has been fulfilling its election promises and that will continue with the newly re-elected government.
“Our first two bills will be to create a new Home Renovation Tax Credit and reduce small business taxes, as promised in the recent election campaign,” Moe said. “We will also be moving quickly to cut everyone’s power bill by 10 per cent starting tomorrow, reduce ambulance charges for seniors and reinstate the Community Rink Affordability grant, as promised in the election campaign.”
The Throne Speech also commits the government to fund the rest of its campaign commitments starting in the 2021-22 budget. These include:
- Increased support for persons living with diabetes by covering the cost of insulin pumps and covering the cost of Continuing Glucose Monitoring up to age 18;
- Extending individualized funding for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder up to age 12;
- Increased supports for Deafblind individuals;
- Hiring 300 new continuing care aides to work in long-term care homes and home care;
- Reducing tuition costs by increasing the Saskatchewan Advantage Scholarship from $500 to $750 a year;
- Increasing funding to the Saskatchewan Veterans Service Club Support Program to $1.5 million a year;
- Adding 750 new child care spaces over the next four years;
- Restarting the Active Families Benefit to help families with the cost of children’s sports and cultural activities; and
- Increasing the Seniors Income Plan benefit to $360 a year over the next three years - four times what it was in 2007.
“These are all the commitments we made in the election campaign and we intend to act on all of them in this session, either this fall or in the spring budget,” Moe said.
The Throne Speech also thanked everyone in Saskatchewan for their efforts to control the spread of COVID-19 and said the ongoing response to the pandemic will be the government’s top priority during the legislative session and in the weeks ahead.
“My government will continue taking action to address both the health and economic impact of COVID-19 while continuing to prepare for the distribution of a safe and effective vaccine, which the federal government has committed to deliver early in the new year,” the Throne Speech reads.
The government also committed to the following new legislation in the Throne Speech:
- Amendments to The Residential Tenancies Act will allow those who have been sexually assaulted in their rental accommodation to unilaterally break a long-term lease; and
- The Protection From Human Trafficking Act will enable victims to obtain expedited protection orders, allow for the tough enforcement of those orders, and provide civil remedies including the seizure of property and bank accounts and the suspension of driver’s licenses.
The fall sitting is expected to last two weeks. There will be a longer legislative sitting in the spring, when the government will present the 2021-22 provincial budget.