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Economy will be priority in throne speech: premier
The Canadian Press
Published Tuesday, October 21, 2014 11:39AM CST
Last Updated Tuesday, October 21, 2014 1:42PM CST
Saskatchewan's premier says Wednesday's throne speech will focus on ways to grow the provincial economy and contain specific ideas for attracting export-oriented businesses.
Brad Wall said this will include details on tax incentives to make the province more competitive.
"There has been some discussion with falling oil (prices) recently about the importance of having many sectors of our economy in a strong position," he said, adding that the government wants to boost job creation in the agricultural and manufacturing industries as well as in the corporate world.
"The only way to pay to build schools, or social programs ... the only way is an economy, and a sustainable one."
The throne speech will mark the start of the legislature's fall sitting and will outline the Saskatchewan Party government's plan for the next year.
The Opposition has released a list of 25 issues it wants to see addressed in the speech.
NDP Leader Cam Broten said reducing hospital wait times and ensuring consistent patient care need to be priorities.
"I want to see the right dollars put to the front lines of health care," he said, adding that the government's Lean program offers one example of misdirected funding.
The province is paying $40 million over four years for Lean consultants, who look for ways to reduce spending and streamline the health system.
In March, Wall said the program had already paid for itself with savings on the design for the new children's hospital in Saskatoon and a new hospital in Moose Jaw.
But Broten is calling for the program to be scrapped, calling it a "pet project."
"(A) majority of health care workers, doctors, nurses, say that they don't like what Lean is doing to the delivery of health care," he said.
Last week the premier publicly mused about the merits of private MRI clinics, and said he expects the issue will be debated during the legislative session.
"We are certainly open to the debate," Wall said, adding that the issue won't be specifically mentioned in the throne speech, but it has been on the government's radar since 2008.
Broten has said privately-paid diagnostics would lead Saskatchewan down the wrong path.
The New Democrats' list of must-haves in the throne speech also included a comprehensive anti-flooding strategy, reducing the province's reliance on temporary foreign workers and addressing inequities in the education of aboriginal children.
"It's a time for increased scrutiny and asking questions," Broten said.