A new session of the Saskatchewan Legislative Assembly opened Wednesday afternoon with Lt.-Gov. Russ Mirasty presenting the Speech from the Throne on behalf of Premier Scott Moe. 

The speech mostly revolved around Saskatchewan’s growing economy and the province’s need to defend its autonomy over the provincial economy and natural resources from what the provincial government calls “unwarranted federal intrusion and constitutional overreach.” 

In the speech, Mirasty said that Saskatchewan plans to balance the budget this year, four years ahead of schedule. He said the province is enjoying record investments and is on track to lead the country in economic growth. 

“Investment is flowing into the province as several major projects move ahead, creating thousands of new jobs activity in our resource sector is on the upswing as demand for potash, oil, uranium, and other key commodities increases,” Mirasty said in the speech. 

The Throne Speech said that the province’s population will reach 1.2 million people by the end of this year. 

The speech also highlighted the government’s affordability plan which was announced in August as well as the Health Human Resources Action Plan which was announced in September that will add 1,000 healthcare workers. 

Some of the other projects and initiatives outlined in the speech included: 

  • a new in-patient joint replacement facility in Regina, expected to begin operations by the end of 2023; 

  • signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with Ahtahkakoop Cree Nation for a new Saskatoon Urgent Care Centre; 

  • creation of 200 new Educational Assistant positions in school classrooms; 

  • creation of a new centralized online learning model to ensure all students can enroll in any course offered in the province, regardless of where they live; 

  • funding for the Dene Teacher Education Program at the First Nations University of Canada and for scholarships for up to 25 students to study Indigenous languages; 

  • continuing work on the Saskatchewan Polytechnic's Saskatoon Campus Renewal Project, expected to be located in the vicinity of the University of Saskatchewan and Innovation Place; 

  • signing of the Sustainable Canadian Agricultural Partnership, along with the federal government and all provinces and territories; 

  • increased veterinary training seats; 

  • opening of a Saskatchewan new trade office in Germany, joining trade offices in eight other countries that do significant business with Saskatchewan; 

  • continued support for nearly 2,000 Ukrainians displaced by the Russian invasion, who now call Saskatchewan home; 

  • continued expansion of rural internet service by SaskTel; 

  • development of 700 more megawatts wind and solar power generation in south-central Saskatchewan by SaskPower; 

  • partnering on two First Nations solar projects; 

  • continued planning for small modular nuclear reactors, with Estevan and Elbow identified as potential sites; 

  • creation of a made-in-Saskatchewan carbon offset credit program; 

  • partnering with the Saskatoon Tribal Council and Regina Treaty/Status Indian Services on projects to address homelessness; 

  • introduction of The Accessible Saskatchewan Act to identify and remove accessibility barriers for those living with a disability; 

  • an increase of $7.5 million in the current year to the $10 million Creative Saskatchewan Feature Film and Television Grant Program, which is already fully subscribed on 13 film and television productions;  

  • legislation to allow municipalities to designate areas for safe consumption of alcohol in parks; and 

  • exiting the retail liquor market and expanding opportunities for independent retailers. 

The speech also included the province’s need to defend its economic autonomy from the federal government when it comes to industries and jobs. It was announced that the provincial government would introduce The Saskatchewan First Act to define Saskatchewan’s jurisdiction over natural resources and its economic future. 

“It's time for Saskatchewan to draw the line and defend that line. After several years of hard-fought battles in the first quarter century of our province, Saskatchewan exclusive jurisdiction over natural resources was enshrined in the Canadian Constitution in 1930,” Mirasty explained in the Throne Speech. 

The provincial government also plans to amend The Saskatchewan Act to state that Saskatchewan will continue to keep exclusive jurisdiction over its natural resources. 

The province will also push for more provincial control over immigration, similar to the agreement the federal government has with Quebec. The speech added that legislation will be introduced to allow the province to collect its own corporate income tax.