Sask. legislative assembly to return on June 15 with 2020-21 budget
REGINA -- The Saskatchewan legislative assembly will resume sitting next month, the province announced Tuesday.
In a news release, the province said government house leader Jeremy Harrison and opposition house leader Cathy Sproule have agreed to a “modified arrangement” for the legislative assembly.
The assembly will sit June 15 to July 3, sitting Monday to Friday each week. There will be no sitting on July 1.
The province says the assembly will sit 10 government members and five opposition members at any time to ensure safe physical distancing.
The government suspended the legislative assembly on March 18, sending non-essential Crown workers home as Premier Scott Moe declared a provincial state of emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Minister of Finance Donna Harpauer will table a 2020-2021 provincial budget on June 15, followed by 60 hours of budget estimate scrutiny by legislative committees over the next few days.
“I envision is to look very similar to, but different than what a normal budget process would look like,” Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe said in a press conference Tuesday.
“This will be by far the most extensive scrutiny of any budget in any house in this nation since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Moe said.
Harpauer shared spending estimates without revenue projections on March 18. A fiscal update in April predicted between $1.3 billion and $3.3 billion in losses due to the pandemic.
Moe said the budget will be based largely on the estimates that were presented in March. There will be some changes to include COVID-19 funding, such as the small business emergency grant and the self isolation support program.
"[These] would all be examples that have been updated and clearly communicated with the public, that will be part of that budget,” said Moe. “As will be our best estimate, with respect to the revenues that the Ministry of Finance can put together.”
“We look forward to returning to the Legislature to push for an economic recovery plan that puts people first. And we’ll continue to push for accountability and answers to the government’s handling of COVID-19 and its economic fall-out,” NDP leader Ryan Meili said in a news release.
A final budget vote is scheduled for July 3.
The province says the budget is the priority of the sitting, but will conduct other business if time allows.