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Report from the Legislature

April 23, 2014

Report from the Legislature

April 23, 2014

Saskatchewan is a growing province with a growing need for maternal and children's

health services. It is important that we not only design and build a Children's Hospital, but

also that we deliver a facility that is going to meet our needs now and into the future.

With a growing population, we have reaffirmed our commitment to the Children's Hospital

of Saskatchewan with a further investment of $20 million and approval of expansion plans

to add 24 inpatient beds. Additional funding will add nine inpatient maternal rooms and 15

inpatient rooms to children's services, for a total of 176 private inpatient beds.

Our government has heard directly from staff and physicians that increasing the number of

inpatient beds will ensure we're meeting the needs of families. This expansion plan will

increase the overall size of the new hospital by 11 per cent (approximately 38,000 square

feet) and bring the province's total investment in the project to $235.5 million.

The Children's Hospital of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, an example of our government's

commitment to putting patients first, is now targeted to open in 2017.

Our government is deeply concerned with the U.S. State Department's announcement

that it will delay its final decision on the proposed TransCanada Keystone XL Pipeline.

Facts support its construction and these politically motivated decisions are hurting our

economy.

A portion of the 2,700 kilometre project would run through our province, providing jobs and

freeing-up pipeline capacity so that more Saskatchewan oil can enter the North American

pipeline system. Considering that a large number of rail cars have been diverted to ship

oil, this latest delay doesn't help the transportation challenges our producers are currently

facing.

Saskatchewan grain, potash, and other commodities suffer every day the Keystone XL

Pipeline is not being built. This wavering on the part of the U.S. Administration is also

hurting our ability to develop new markets and support North America energy

sustainability.

This particular pipeline has been studied long and hard with the facts supporting its

construction. This delay represents a major blow to the energy industry in Saskatchewan

and in Canada and will place unnecessary strain on relations with our largest trading

partner.

Saskatchewan continues to experience a strong demand for skilled and educated

workers, according to the latest listings at SaskJobs.ca. Nearly half of the 15,644

available positions that were featured in March required higher-skilled workers. Demand

was particularly strong for candidates with a post-secondary certificate, diploma or

apprenticeship training.

The Saskatchewan Plan for Growth outlines our government's focus on education, training

and developing a skilled workforce. We continue to work with educational institutions and

employers to address existing barriers by creating new training seats, including another

300 new apprenticeship seats and 700 new spots added to the Adult Basic Education

program.

Upon graduation, students have many opportunities to move from learning to earning in

Saskatchewan's strong and diverse labour market. To make that connection, our

government is investing in post-secondary education to ensure it is both accessible and

affordable.

We're expanding training seats, making capital investments at our universities and

regional colleges and investing in tax credits like the Graduate Retention Program, the

Saskatchewan Advantage Scholarship and the Saskatchewan Advantage Grant for

Education Savings.

Since 2008, there has been a 40 per cent increase in the number of First Nations and

Métis people in Saskatchewan who have a university degree and an overall 18 per cent

increase in the number of Saskatchewan workers with a post-secondary certificate,

diploma or degree.

A new poll by Insightrix Research suggests that if a provincial election were held today,

over 63 per cent of decided voters would support the Saskatchewan Party. This result is

humbling, as is the opportunity to serve in government, a responsibility we never take for

granted. Of course, we know the only poll that really matters is Election Day and we

intend to continue working hard to earn the support of voters while keeping Saskatchewan

on the path of steady growth.

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