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Saskatchewan's Economic Climate


Honourable senators, the weather forecast from Environment Canada says Saskatoon will have a high of minus 30 today, but the American news network, CNN, is calling Saskatoon a hot spot when it comes to the economic climate of Canada. A CNN report last Wednesday, March 4, quoted Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall as saying:

It is a great time to come to Saskatchewan. For those who are losing their jobs, we need them to know we have thousands of jobs open right now in both the public and private sector. We have a powerful story to tell, a story of success, and that's something we want to share that with those who are struggling.

Thus far, Saskatchewan has managed to buck the trend of increased unemployment during the current global recession. Saskatchewan's unemployment rate actually fell to 4.1 per cent in January from 4.2 per cent in December, making it the only province to post a decline in unemployment.

CNN cites Saskatchewan's favourable royalty rates for oil producers, cheap land and low insurance prices as reasons for the province's strong economic showing. Saskatchewan sends more oil to the United States than Kuwait. The province is the world's leading uranium-producing region and it produces over a third of the world's potash. However, Saskatchewan is not only resting on those laurels. It is staying ahead of the curve by diversifying its economy, embarking on ambitious green projects and developing vast, newly discovered oil reserves. Natural Resources Canada has recently revealed that Saskatchewan now leads the nation in mining output, after pulling ahead of Ontario in 2008.

Despite all the good economic news in Saskatchewan these days, Premier Wall is not taking any chances with his province's continued prosperity. To help the economy continue to stave off recessionary forces, Premier Wall announced what he calls a "$500 million infrastructure booster shot."

A Conference Board of Canada report released Tuesday, March 3, indicates Saskatchewan will likely continue to lead the nation in economic growth in 2009 because of the infrastructure investment and tax reductions undertaken by Premier Wall and his Saskatchewan Party government. These measures are in perfect step with those taken by the federal Conservative government in our current budget.

I congratulate Brad Wall on his government's continued excellence in economic management. I know he will continue to make the right choices for the people of Saskatchewan. I look forward to ongoing cooperation between the Government of Saskatchewan and the Government of Canada. Just as Canada continues to outperform the broader international economy, so too does Saskatchewan lead the way within Canada. Saskatchewan is truly the best of the best, and I am proud to call Saskatchewan my home.