The NDP’s interim leader John Nilson recently spoke at the Yorkton Chamber of Commerce’s Annual General Meeting about this year’s provincial budget. Emphasizing that this province has “common sense solutions” to problems, he says that there are some areas where the province needs to act in order to prepare for the future.
“When you don’t have a perspective of where you’re going to go, little things can get you down,” Nilson says.
One area which he says the government need to act is in highways. He says that as the province is growing, there needs to be plans to twin highways that are becoming more heavily used. He points to highway 10 between Yorkton and Regina as a highway that needs to be twinned in the future, as it sees a larger traffic load between the two centers.
“We can all see the economic activity that is happening here, and that is happening in the potash regions, and that’s something we have to do,” Nilson says.
He also says there needs to be a more ambitious approach to doctor recruitment and school expansions in areas which are seeing growth and an increased amount of economic activity. He says planning well ahead on this front is “smart growth,” and plans need to happen to keep ahead of the growth. Keeping on that theme, he says he was further disappointed when there were no capital projects approved for municipalities, because with growth these projects need to happen.
He also says that the government needs to do more consultation with people involved in different areas before decisions are made. Pointing to the end of the Enterprise Regions, changes in the way Tourism Saskatchewan is run, and the end of the Film tax credit, he says these were changed without any consultations, and they will have a negative affect on the people involved in what those programs do.
Nilson also says that the plan to increase the number of MLAs in the province by three is an unnecessary increase in seats, and not a logical change. He notes that the number of people represented by the average MLA is among the lowest in the country, and that means there’s no need for an increase.
Finally, he thanks the people of Yorkton for the support for the Jimmy’s Law bill, the private member’s bill directed at making workplaces safer for overnight workers. He says that it’s a good cause and that they are working hard to protect people working at night.