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Saskatchewan sees encouraging growth

MLA Warren Michelson's column for the week of July 10, 2019
MLAsColumn_WarrenMichelson
Moose Jaw North MLA Warren Michelson

Thanks to significant rain, the landscape around Moose Jaw is looking much better than it did three weeks ago. We’ve seen growth in more than just crops this past month. There is evidence that the province is going in the right direction as we Stand Up for Saskatchewan.  A strengthening economy means we have the resources to invest in the services needed by the people of our province.  It also shows the determination and innovation of Saskatchewan people in the face of challenges.

For the 10th consecutive month, Saskatchewan has more people working in the province than it did a year ago. Employment figures announced in June show there are 14,300 more people working in Saskatchewan than in May of 2018. The unemployment rate dropped to 5.2 per cent in May (seasonally adjusted), down from 6.7 per cent a year ago. Month-over-month, the unemployment rate was down from 5.4 per cent in April.

Our province has now seen 52 consecutive quarters of population growth, according to the latest population figures from Statistics Canada. Our unprecedented population growth of 176,894 people includes 10,295 more who started calling Saskatchewan home in the past year.  A destination of choice for people from around the world, Saskatchewan’s growth is largely due to international immigration. This is a clear sign of the strength of our economy and our quality of life. 

Wholesale trade in April was up 14.7 per cent year-over-year in Saskatchewan (seasonally adjusted), the highest percentage increase among the provinces and well above of the 4.8 per cent recorded nationally. Wholesale trade is leading indicator of other future economic indicators.

There have also been notable improvements in Saskatchewan’s finances as our economy improves.  

Results for the 2018-19 fiscal year show the deficit was $97 million lower than budgeted, $112 million less than what was forecast at third quarter, and $35 million less than the prior fiscal year. Our plan to continue to provide services and improve infrastructure while managing expenses is providing Saskatchewan citizens with good quality of life. Total revenue was up 1.4 per cent from budget, and up 3.1 per cent compared to the prior fiscal year.

Managing the deficit has resulted in Saskatchewan’s credit rating remaining strong. In June, the Dominion Bond Rating Service affirmed Saskatchewan’s AA credit rating, unchanged since 2009. Saskatchewan continues to have the second-highest overall credit rating among provinces, behind only British Columbia, when the ratings of the three major agencies (Moody’s, Standard and Poor’s and Dominion Bond Rating Services) are considered.

I have been enjoying Moose Jaw’s summer events and celebrations, evidence of the richness of our community. Thank you to the organizers of the Canada Day festivities, Sidewalk Days, and the Air Show. Summer continues to be full of fun and interesting activity as Motif and Festival of Words promise to be spectacular events as well.  

Unfortunately, even the best of days has times of sorrow.  Along with many in Saskatchewan, I was saddened by the passing of Saskatchewan’s Lieutenant Governor, the Honourable W. Thomas Molloy. I knew him as a wise and compassionate man. In addition to his support for youth, mental health initiatives, literacy, new Canadians, and seniors, he was an advocate for Indigenous communities and a strong promoter of Saskatchewan. I offer my condolences to his family and all who grieve his passing.   

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