I have read with interest Bob Zurowski’s most recent “Lookin’ Around Town” columns in the Battlefords News-Optimist and Regional Optimist. I would like to clarify and correct the many misleading and inaccurate statements contained therein.
Over the past five years, Saskatchewan has experienced historic growth. Our economy is strong and growing, our population is at a record high, there are more jobs than ever before and unemployment is at record lows. More than ever before, Saskatchewan is the place in Canada that people, both newcomers to our great province and ex-patriots, are choosing to live, work and raise families.
That growth has allowed our government to make an equally historic investment in the province’s infrastructure. Contrary to Zurowski’s claims, the Saskatchewan Party government has made an unprecedented investment in highways — $2.2 billion over the last four years with another $2.2 billion over the next four. That includes significant work in our area of the province. Including this year's work, approximately $44 million has been spent on highways in the constituency of Cut Knife - Turtleford. There is always more work to be done, given the depth to which highways were ignored under the previous administration, but significant progress has been and is being made to address that.
The same can be said about wait times for surgery. For too many years, people in Saskatchewan faced some of the longest waits for surgery in Canada. That was unacceptable. Under our government, that is no longer the case. We are seeing steady progress in the effort to reduce wait times and we recognize that there is more work to do. I am confident our significant investments – including $60.5 million this year — will ensure we meet our target of no one having to wait more than three months for surgery by 2014.
In regards to seniors, Mr. Zurowski’s claims that this government is not taking action to support them, ignores the facts. It is this government that moved to increase income supports for seniors, make housing more affordable and renew long-term care facilities, so seniors have the supports they need and can remain close to friends and family. To suggest otherwise is a disservice to seniors who expect and deserve the support of their government for the invaluable contribution they have made to the fabric of our province.
Sustainable spending within the context of a balanced budget is critically important if we are to maintain the Saskatchewan Advantage created in recent years by the people of this province. It was with that in mind our government decided in this year’s budget to maintain funding for the Western Development Museum at its current level. While other jurisdictions across Canada and around the world struggle under the weight of debt and deficit, Saskatchewan’s economy remains strong and growing and we intend to keep it that way.
I would like to thank everyone who lives in the Cut Knife – Turtleford constituency for the support and the trust they have placed in me. I am pleased to have this opportunity to share with you information on our government’s record. Over the course of the summer, I will be consulting with individual citizens, councils and community groups to find out what your priorities are pertaining to maintaining the historic growth of our great province. Together, we will continue to move Saskatchewan forward.
MLA Cut Knife – Turtleford