Legislative Updates

Legislative Report - May 1, 2013

May 1, 2013

Saskatchewan will soon be home to the four brand-new private liquor stores. The stores will open by summer 2014 – two in Regina and two in Saskatoon. Sobeys will operate outlets in Saskatoon's Stonebridge neighborhood and on Rochdale Boulevard in northwest Regina. The other Regina store will be run by Willow Park Wines & Spirits in the south Regina neighborhood of Harbour Landing. The fourth store will be operated by the Saskatoon Co-op in the Blairmore neighborhood. Currently, Saskatchewan's liquor retail system is a mix of public and private operators: 79 public liquor stores, about 185 private businesses operating as rural liquor franchises and approximately 440 private off-sale outlets.

The serious problems of bullying and cyber-bullying were the focus of an important debate held recently in the Saskatchewan legislature. Legislators from both sides of the House united in their support of the efforts of the federal, provincial and territorial Justice Ministers to protect our kids from cyber-bullying, including making it illegal to share intimate images without consent. This kind of activity played a tragic role in the deaths of two teenage girls on opposite sides of Canada in recent months. Our government has also created a new, web-based resource for anti-bullying information: www.education.gov.sk.ca/Anti-Bullying. This site contains links to information and resources for educators, families, children and youth. It will be kept up to date as Legislative Secretary to the Minister of Education (Anti-bullying Initiative) Saskatoon Fairview MLA Jennifer Campeau begins her important work this spring and summer. Ms. Campeau will host public consultations and meet with interest groups and individuals. She will use the information she gathers to make recommendations to the Minister of Education for an anti-bullying strategy for the province. We need to do more to not only protect our children from bullying and harassment, but to drive home the point that everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and respect.

An important milestone has been reached on the road to the province's first Children's Hospital. The Government of Saskatchewan has approved detailed plans for the hospital which were designed with the input of patients, families, staff and physicians. Another example of putting patients first, this announcement builds on the early design of the hospital approved last July by including details on things like how patient rooms and family areas will be set up. After months of intensive work, the Children's Hospital of Saskatchewan project team created a detailed design that will best meet the needs of patients and health care professionals, while incorporating detailed population forecasting to ensure the facility will meet the needs of a growing city and province. The project team will now focus on the final mechanical, electrical and structural details so that the contractors can start building the hospital. Construction is expected to start in early 2014 with a completion date of late 2016.

With the spring melt now underway, the Saskatchewan Water Security Agency (WSA) is actively supporting hundreds of communities and groups working hard to prevent and control flooding. If you need support and/or assistance with activities such as sandbagging, installing culverts, clearing channels or building berms, please contact the WSA at 1-866-727-5420. Their website - www.wsask.ca - is also a great source of information. The mobile version of the site allows you to check daily river and lake levels. Other services being provided include free bacteriological testing of your well or cistern water by the Saskatchewan Disease Control Laboratory – to see if you're eligible for testing and to get forms and sample containers, go to at www.health.gov.sk.ca/flooded-private-wells-fact-sheet. With how quickly flood conditions change, the Highway Hotline will be staffed 24-7 until the threat of flooding subsides. Road closures and traffic restrictions will be on the Highway Hotline website and provided via social media. By working together, we will ensure that you and your family stay safe.

When you filed your taxes this year, it's likely you paid a lot less in provincial income tax. Tax cuts made by our government 2007 have resulted in big savings for many families and individuals in Saskatchewan. For example, a family of four making $50,000 in 2013 will pay just $207 in provincial income tax, compared to $2,032 in 2007. That's more than two thousand dollars that stays in your pocket. As outlined in the Plan for Growth, our government will continue to cut taxes as long as those reductions are affordable and sustainable, within a balanced budget.

If you have a question about this Legislative Report or any other matter, just contact Scott.

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