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Reflecting on progress

MLA Warren Michelson's column from this week's issue of The Moose Jaw Express
Moose Jaw North MLA Warren Michelson

Moose Jaw is set to benefit from two major projects that will be starting in the very near future. Construction of a much-needed new joint-use school and groundbreaking for the Great Plains Power Station are both scheduled for early next year. With the expected fall provincial election and my time as your MLA coming to concluding at that time, I’ve been reflecting on the progress we have seen in Moose Jaw and across our province.  

The F.H. Wigmore Regional Hospital is no doubt the most significant investment for Moose Jaw. It was a huge privilege to advocate for a new hospital for area residents, and to attend the grand opening. I will always remember getting a call from someone, who lived in Saskatoon, and had visited a friend who was hospitalized in Moose Jaw. He had so many good things to say about what a great facility it was, what good care his friend was receiving, and how fortunate we are to have this new hospital in our community.  

Mosaic Place and YaraCentre opened in 2011. I’ve enjoyed many events at Mosaic Place and enjoyed “Turf Time” at YaraCentre with my grandchildren. Concerts and events like the Scotties Tournament of Hearts have brought significant economic activity to our local businesses.  

In addition to major projects, Municipal Revenue sharing to Moose Jaw has increased 142 per cent. Provincial funding for Moose Jaw is allocated annually in other areas like upgrades at Sask Polytech, and through the Community Initiatives Fund. Just shy of $29,000,000 was invested in our city for the 2020-21 fiscal year.  

I have seen Saskatchewan grow so much stronger in my time as your MLA. Our population has grown by more than 170,000 people because our economy has grown with 75,500 new jobs and over $180 billion in capital investment. Production and exports continue to climb, increasing by more than 60 per cent, with Saskatchewan product being shipped to more than 150 countries around the world. This strength helped our province weather the COVID-19 crisis, coming out on top, or second-best among provinces in terms of economy and employment.  

However, progress is only meaningful if it improves quality of life for our people. We have seen this with more doctors and nurses, more child care spaces and more education staff. The Saskatchewan Assured Income for Disabilities was introduced in 2009 to better assist those living with a disability. We have built new long-term care homes, and increased income assistance for seniors.

Police and Crisis Teams are in place around the province, including in Moose Jaw. Mental health workers now work alongside police to provide more appropriate support to individuals during a mental health crisis, reducing the number of individuals going into Emergency Departments or police custody.  

It is always an honour to attend grand openings for new housing. Fifteen million dollars has been invested in Moose Jaw for improved social housing since 2007. Wakamow Place and Wakamow Place II were constructed for hard-to-house individuals and the province contributed to eight Habitat for Humanity homes in Moose Jaw.

Your Saskatchewan Party government has always recognized that there is more that can be done, and it has been my privilege to be part of a government continually looking for the best ways to make life better for all of Moose Jaw and Saskatchewan.  

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the position of this publication.  

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