Sask. looks towards fall election as spring legislative session ends
REGINA -- Saskatchewan MLAs turned their attention to the upcoming provincial election, as Friday marked the final day of the abbreviated spring legislative session.
After a contentious and brief sitting, Premier Scott Moe said he was generally pleased with the events of the sitting.
“It’s always been my desire to introduce and pass a budget in this province on behalf of the people we represent. It’s always been my desire to pass our legislative agenda if possible, and we’re thankful we were able to do that,” said Moe.
Ryan Meili, the leader of the opposition NDP, said the abbreviated session was important to provide scrutiny on the budget and hold the government accountable.
“[The Premier] didn’t want to present a budget. He wanted to coast all the way to the election with no hard look at what his plans are,” said Meili.
Meili said he would like the government to reconvene for a session in September, ahead of the election, so more financial projections could be presented. However, Moe said his party accomplished what they wanted and will not return to the Legislature for a fall sitting.
“There is no need. We have passed a budget in the province. We have completed our legislative agenda,” Moe said. “The debate that we’re going to have in the months ahead is not going to happen in the Legislature, it’s going to happen in the communities, on the doorsteps, and in front of the people of this province.”
The provincial election is scheduled for October 26.
NO ‘INTENT’ TO RAISE TAXES, MAKE CUTS
The province is operating under a deficit in the 2020-21 budget, but the Premier said the government does not intend to implement any cost cutting measures after the upcoming election.
The budget included a deficit of $2.4 billion. Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe said while he expects another, smaller deficit in 2021, he is confident the economy will recover.
Ryan Meili, the leader of the NDP opposition, is not as confident in the government’s ability to get the budget balanced without cost cutting measures.
“The lack of the projections in this budget really hide what the plans are for this government, how they plan to get back to balance, which we know is through cuts; through Crown sell offs. This is their history,” Meili said.
“This is what they did in 2017. If they’re elected again, that’s what they will do again.”
When pressed, Moe would not commit to not raising taxes, but did say the Saskatchewan Party’s “intent” is to not raise taxes.
“There’s going to be no selling off of crown corporations, there’s going to be no cuts,” said Moe. “We don’t feel that there is going to be a reason for increasing taxes, we don’t feel there is going to be a reason for any of the things the NDP are talking about.”
“It’s our intent not to [raise taxes]. We’ll bring forward a platform that ensures we don’t have to, and that’s all to be discussed over the next two three months here.”