The strength and resilience of Saskatchewan people, businesses, industries and community organizations is very evident as we weather the many challenges of this time. In my tenure as an MLA, I have become more and more convinced that, given the opportunity, the people of Saskatchewan are creative, compassionate, innovative and determined. Recent events and statistics have highlighted this.
Thank you to everyone in our education system who have made it possible for our children to be back in the classroom. My grandchildren, like many students, were excited to be back at school with their friends. I know much deliberation and hard work went into ensuring a safe and successful year for our K-12 and post-secondary students.
It is encouraging to see progress towards construction of Moose Jaw’s new South Hill elementary school. The latest updates on Holy Trinity and Prairie South School Division websites indicate that the Memorandum of Understanding with the City of Moose Jaw is underway. A design/project schedule has been completed, and planning is underway regarding roads and traffic impacts.
The first earth will be moved this week for the Great Plains Power Station in Moose Jaw. KMS Construction from Tuxford was awarded the contract for the road upgrades. This project supported by the City Council and City Administration will bring about a power plant that will benefit Moose Jaw and Saskatchewan for years to come.
The strength and resilience of our province is evident in the way we are rebounding from the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Recent employment numbers show Saskatchewan has the lowest unemployment rates in Canada, at 7.9 per cent, well-below the national average of 10.2 per cent. Saskatchewan’s employment is now at 95.7 per cent of its pre-pandemic level in February.
Export and retails sales in Saskatchewan are up, not just month-over-month but year-over-year. July export numbers were up 9 per cent from July 2019. Nationally, exports were down 12.5 per cent. The value of retail sales in Saskatchewan increased 7.9 per cent in June 2020 compared to June 2019, which was the third-highest percentage increase in Canada. Our province is performing quite well.
I have had the privilege of getting to know many of the incredible people in our community — people who have created positive change. These individuals deserve recognition for their efforts. Nominations are being accepted for the Saskatchewan Volunteer Medal and the Saskatchewan Order of Merit. The Saskatchewan Volunteer Medal is awarded to a citizen that goes above and beyond for their community in a volunteer capacity. The deadline to nominate someone is October 18th. You may know someone deserving of such recognition.
The Order of Merit recognizes individual excellence and achievement in areas such as the arts, business and industry, community leadership, professions, public service, and volunteer service. Nominations for the Order of Merit must be submitted by November 1st. Any individual or group may nominate someone for either of these awards. Please consider nominating someone online.
So many individuals and organizations in our province have overcome obstacles, yet carry on to make life better for others and our province. It is this kind of strength and resilience that keeps Saskatchewan vibrant and growing.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the position of this publication.