It is important to respond to a question that comes up every so often in Saskatchewan. You have likely heard someone, somewhere ask “where did the money go?”
The answer is simple and it’s worth repeating. It was invested in what matters to Saskatchewan people – debt repayment, tax relief, infrastructure improvements, better care and a brighter future. The operating debt of the province of Saskatchewan has been reduced by over $1 billion. This has resulted in $1 billion in interest payment savings. Tax reductions have saved residents nearly $6 billion and over 112,000 low-income individuals in Saskatchewan no longer pay any provincial income tax.
Nearly $20 billion has been invested in infrastructure. 12,000 kms of road has been repaired and rebuilt across the province. There are 15 new long-term care homes in Saskatchewan with new hospitals for Moose Jaw and North Battleford. And finally, a Saskatchewan Children’s Hospital in Saskatoon.
The money went to 40 new or replacement schools in growing communities with repairs and renovations occurring at more than half of all schools in the province. The money went to pay for 800 new teaching positions, 750 more doctors and more than 3,000 additional nurses of every designation.
It went to doubling funding for the Saskatchewan Cancer Agency and toward a surgical wait time initiative that has taken our wait times from the longest in the country to among the shortest. The money was used to double funding for people with disabilities, triple the funding for child and family programs, and to add 6,000 new child care spaces.
The money went to our kids and future leaders by doubling funding for K-12 education and investing nearly $8.3 billion in post-secondary education. Record investments in health care, education, innovation and infrastructure have brought Saskatchewan back to a position of strength.
And they will keep us strong into the future. Residents of Balgonie for example, now have safer access to their community as the first overpass on the Regina Bypass Project has opened to traffic less than two years after construction started. Addressing safety concerns for the communities on Highway 1 East, the opening of this overpass alleviates traffic congestion and provides a safer journey for drivers.
Designed to enhance safety and reduce traffic congestion in and around the City of Regina, The Regina Bypass is the largest transportation infrastructure project in the province’s history. The first phase of construction between Balgonie and Highway 33, including overpasses at Balgonie, White City and Tower Road, will be completed this fall. The Pilot Butte overpass will be partially open this year and fully operational in 2018. The remainder of The Regina Bypass project will be completed in 2019.
Highway improvements continue across the province and drivers are asked to observe the posted speed limits and slow to 60 km/h when passing highway workers and equipment. If you’re planning a trip this summer, The Highway Hotline provides up-to-date information on construction, emergency road closures and other activities.
If your summer travels take you out on the water, it is important to practice water safety. The Government of Saskatchewan is pleased to be expanding the Lifejacket Loaner Station program, an important water safety initiative where lifejackets can be borrowed free of charge. The Lifejacket Loaner Stations are available in five locations: Echo Valley, Great Blue Heron, Katepwa Point and Pike Lake Provincial Parks and Regina Beach Recreation Site.
You can visit www.saskparks.com to learn more about the lifejacket loaner stations as well as the many summer events and activities throughout the provincial park system.
If you have any questions or concerns please contact my constituency office at 1-877-326-3652 (1-877-DAN-DMLA) or 306-443-2420.
Past Legislative Reports