Premier Scott Moe made his second appearance of the campaign in the Battlefords on Monday, as he touted the Saskatchewan Party’s policies to help small businesses.
Moe made his announcement at Battleford Furniture, where he noted that it was the start of Small Business Week in the province and in Canada. The campaign stop was just one week before Saskatchewan voters head to the polls on Oct. 26.
During his announcement, Moe said small businesses were contributing to the province’s economic recovery from COVID-19.
“In fact, the strongest recovery in Canada is taking place right here in Saskatchewan,” Moe said. “More people in Saskatchewan were able to continue to work through the pandemic than in any other province in the nation. Saskatchewan was the first province to release its reopening plan, and we reopened safely while controlling the spread of COVID-19. And now, virtually all of our economy is open and os operating in some way; 8,700 new jobs were created in September and today we have the lowest unemployment rate in the nation. We are moving in the right direction, but we’re certainly not out of the woods yet. The pandemic is not over and the recovery is not yet finished, and that’s why a re-elected Saskatchewan Party government will do everything it can to continue to support small business and to ensure that we emerge from this pandemic stronger than ever.”
Among the policies Moe pointed to is a reduction of the small business tax rate for the next three years; a 10 per cent reduction in power bills for one year for everyone including small businesses; and the new and temporary Home Renovation Tax Credit, allowing homeowners to claim 10.5 per cent credit on up to $20,000 of home renovation expenses incurred between Oct 1 2020 and Dec. 31, 2022.
Moe noted other commitments made already, including the Saskatchewan Small Business Emergency Payment; the Saskatchewan Tourism Sector Support Program; training subsidies; and relief for businesses unable to remit their provincial sales tax or pay utility bills on time.
Moe also pointed to the province’s investments in local area projects including the new Saskatchewan Hospital, the new passing lanes on highway 4, and the renovations at John Paul II Collegiate.
Moe paid tribute to Herb Cox, retiring Battlefords MLA who was at the event, and expressed support for Battlefords candidate Jeremy Cockrill.
“I know that Jeremy will be a strong voice for the Battlefords,” Moe said.
Moe’s latest Battlefords campaign appearance comes following a week of rising COVID-19 case numbers and the reduction of private gathering sizes to 15 people. When asked about worries from businesses about the prospect of another lockdown and restrictions, Moe responded that despite the rising numbers rising they continue to do quite well. He also made it known he did not think a broad lockdown would be needed.
“We understand the transmission of this virus much better today than we did months ago, in the early few weeks and months of being introduced to COVID-19. It is my feeling we will not have a broad sector shut down of our economy here in the province.”
He noted the province has been able to increase testing and contact tracing, so they could identify where outbreaks are happening and very quickly isolate people.
“That is proving challenging the last couple of days,” Moe acknowledged, but he urged keeping things in perspective.
“We continue to be 52 per cent below rate the national rate when it comes to total cases, we continue to be 48 per cent below the national rate when it comes to active cases.”
Fatalities were 92 per cent below the national rate, it was noted.
Monday was also the first day of flu shots in Saskatchewan. Moe encouraged everyone to consider getting a flu shot this year, and also urged everyone to “consider getting a COVID-19 vaccination as well” when they have that opportunity.
“No one will be forced to have a vaccination but it is good practice not only to protect yourself but to protect those around you that may be vulnerable.”
As for how a potential COVID-19 vaccination campaign would roll out once that is approved and ready, Moe noted the province had been through it before, pointing to the H1N1 vaccination program that was rolled out which “was very effective in prioritizing those in high-risk demographics here in the province.”
Moe says he has no preference who wins US election
Moe was asked about comments he made last Friday in which he expressed concerns about the future of the Keystone XL pipeline project if Joe Biden was elected President. He was asked if he was pro-Donald Trump.
“At the end of the day, I don’t have an interest in the American election, I have an interest in this provincial election,” Moe said. The premier pointed to some of the differences they also had with the Trump administration on issues like trade and tariffs.
“I will continue to advocate with whatever administration, whoever the President is, I. The US like I have over the course of the last two years when it comes to updating one of the most important trade deals with Canada and one of the most important trade deals for Saskatchewan in what is now the USMCA.”
When asked again if he had a preference in the US election, Moe further specified he had “no preference on who would be the President of the United States.” But he added he did “have a preference” on who would lead the economic recovery and have the best chance of leading the province out of the pandemic — referring to his own party.