Biggar-Sask Valley MLA, and Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan Randy Weekes took some time to chat with WestCentralOnline before the first official full week of sitting.
The 2023 Speech from the throne got the Fourth Session of the Twenty-ninth Legislature underway last week, and Weekes wanted to shared some of the highlights.
"It was very exciting (last week) when the Lieutenant Governor brought down the Throne Speech. There are a number of new things that was announced in the Speech." shared Weekes as the Throne Speech is the second biggest day in the Legislature outside of budget. "
The Town of Kindersley was included as part of one of the announcements, as the Government intends to, "Expand mental health services for children and youth in Estevan, Weyburn, Carlyle, Oxbow, Regina, Saskatoon, North Battleford, Humboldt, Prince Albert, Kindersley, Yorkton, Swift Current and Moose Jaw."
Housing was another big topic in the leadup to Wednesday's speech. The Government announced that to promote new home construction and help with rising costs, new homeowners will qualify for a PST Rebate for New Home Construction, effective retroactive to April 1 of this year.
"There is a shortage of homes and dwellings in Saskatchewan, so that will hopefully spur on some construction to deal with that."
Some of the other important notes included:
- Introduce a Secondary Suite Program to increase rental availability;
- Introduce a new Investment Attraction Strategy;
- Introduce a new Saskatchewan Jobs Plan;
- Protect Saskatchewan’s economic autonomy by using The Saskatchewan First Act to refer the federal Clean Electricity Regulations, the Clean Fuel Standard and the oil and gas emissions cap to the Economic Impact Assessment Tribunal;
- Implement the new Action Plan for Mental Health and Addictions, which includes the creation of 500 new addictions treatment spaces across the province;
- Continue to expand online learning opportunities for students through the Saskatchewan Distance Learning Centre;
- Continue to add more childcare spaces;
Before the current session officially kicked off, Weekes talked about the emergency sitting beforehand concerning the "Parents' Bill Of Rights"
"Two weeks, and then we had a few days off before the Throne Speech. The Bill was passed, and that was a very intense two weeks of session." said Weekes as members sat from 9:00 AM to 11:00 PM straight debating, "Brought in time allocation, and the NDP spoke for the 40 hours. That's why it took so long to get it passed, but we got it passed so it's been very exciting."
With the latest session just kicking off there will be much more to dig into in the months ahead. For now, these announcements lay a good outline for the entire province, not specific locations according to Weekes.
"Everything from jobs, to the PST rebate on homes, all of those things are really province wide programs."
Read more coming from last week's Throne Speech in the related articles below.