A strong focus on agricultural export growth was one of the areas of interest in the 2019 Speech from the Throne delivered in the legislature on Wednesday afternoon by Lieutenant Governor Russ Mirasty.
With the Throne Speech delivered 10 weeks away from the arrival of 2020, the province is aiming to achieve a 1.4 million population over the next decade, and have 100,000 more people working by 2030.
The theme of the speech was A New Decade of Growth, and after pointing out a series of areas of growth in the past decade, the Throne Speech targeted a few areas of focus for the start of the upcoming new decade.
While there were no new initiatives announced, the speech highlighted the importance of export growth which directly or indirectly impacts 100,000 Saskatchewan jobs.
In order to counterbalanced the growing impact of international protectionism, the speech highlights that Saskatchewan must meet this challenge head on and seize every opportunity to communicate the benefits of Saskatchewan products to our trading partners around the globe.
“Much of Saskatchewan’s export growth will be driven by our strong agriculture and resource sectors and the thousands of Saskatchewan people working in those industries,” the speech noted.
“Increasing crop production and growing the percentage of primary agricultural production that is processed in our province will be part of our plan moving forward.”
“Growth in the value of exports requires more value-added production.”
“To ensure our province reaps the full benefit of our agricultural resources, my government will outline measures to increase agricultural value-added exports to $10 billion by 2030.”
A section on growth in the resources sector notes new mineral exploration is being encouraged, there are initiatives aimed an expanded uranium projects, as well as targeted support for the energy and resources sector.
The Oil and Gas Processing Investment Incentive, which was introduced during the summer, targets increased value-added processing along with increased infrastructure capacity along with improved emissions management.
“The Saskatchewan Petroleum Innovation Incentive, based around research and development, also provides transferrable royalty/freehold tax credits for qualified innovation and commercialization projects.”
The SaskParty’s Prairie Resilience Climate Change Strategy will continue to be Saskatchewan’s initiative in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
“This plan includes commitments to reduce annual emissions from electrical generation, decrease methane emissions from upstream oil and gas production and implement output-based performance standards for large emitters,” the Speech from the Throne stated.
“The federal government’s decision to accelerate the phase-out of conventional coal-fired electricity by 2030 will negatively affect over 1,300 workers in Saskatchewan coal-producing communities.”
Additionally, SaskPower will continue to explore the potential for small modular reactors using Saskatchewan uranium to produce safe, emissions-free electricity here in our province.
The speech also outlined the legislative agenda for the upcoming session.
Among the pieces of legislation the government intends to pass includes:
- A new Fisheries Act to modernize the legislation and provide greater protection against invasive aquatic species;
- Amendments to The Lobbyists Act, to address recommendations made by the Registrar of Lobbyists in his recent annual reports;
- Legislation for the regulation of vaping and vaping products;
- Amendments to strengthen the enforcement of maintenance orders for child support payments;
- Amendments to The Saskatchewan Employment Act to increase parental leave by eight weeks to ensure that employees who are entitled to the new shared parental Employment Insurance benefit have job protection while using the new leave benefit.