(9 March 2017)
Saskatchewan agriculture deserves to be in the spotlight every day. Saskatchewan farmers, ranchers, producers, processors and researchers are the very best at what they do. Our farmers feed Canada and they feed the world. Saskatchewan is Canada’s largest producer of lentils, chickpeas, durum wheat, and flaxseed and the largest exporter of pulses in the world. Notwithstanding weather challenges, Saskatchewan’s agriculture industry remains a vital force – driving growth, creating opportunity and boosting innovation in Saskatchewan and across Canada.
More than ever, producers need access to relevant and reliable risk management programming. Once again, Saskatchewan producers will have access to the highest coverage in program history. This year’s Crop Insurance Program provides coverage and options producers need to protect their farm while providing the flexibility to be innovative and make the best decisions to be successful. Changes to a Crop Insurance contract or new applications need to be made by March 31, 2017.
Agriculture is the foundation of our province and we want to make sure we are providing the right services, in the right locations, using the best delivery options available. We are asking producers and industry how we can better serve them and how we can ensure our extension activities remain relevant and valuable. We need the voice of those who access our services currently, as well as those who don’t, to ensure we move our extension activities in the right direction.
Farmers, ranchers and agribusinesses are invited to provide input on how the province currently delivers business information, advice and support. An online survey – open until March 31, 2017 – can be found at saskatchewan.ca/public-consultations. Focus group discussions will also help to identify what is working and possible gaps.
As you know, Saskatchewan is facing a budget deficit of over $1 billion. That’s because our resource revenues have dropped by well over a billion dollars and have stayed there for three years now. Our government will be taking steps to control and reduce spending in the upcoming budget.
The largest single area of government spending is compensation – over $7 billion a year in salaries and benefits is paid to valued public sector employees across all of government. We know that any meaningful effort to reduce government spending must include a reduction of that amount. We believe it is important to lead by example and that means our government will not ask other public sector workers to do anything that we’re not prepared to do ourselves. That’s why we will start by reducing the salaries of the premier, all ministers, and MLAs by 3.5% effective April 1st. All of the staff who work in the Premier’s Office, minister’s offices and MLA offices will also be required to take 9 unpaid days off a year, which also amounts to a salary reduction of 3.5%.
These measures are a good start. They will save about a half a million dollars a year. But we must go further. That’s why our government will be looking to reduce overall public sector compensation by that same 3.5%. We hope to achieve this through negotiation with the various public sector unions.
The budget date is March 22nd, this will lay out the provincial plan to eliminate the deficit.
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