After multiple flip flops by the Sask. Party, the government has finally agreed to proclaim the first Saturday of every month as Buy Local Day – an idea proposed in an Opposition bill by New Democrat Leader Cam Broten.
“This is a productive step,” said Broten Tuesday afternoon. “The government should be using some of their large communications capacity to promote shopping locally and to give a boost to Saskatchewan’s small business economy. This is a small step, but it's an important step, because it sends a strong message to consumers about the importance of their buying decisions and it’s the right thing to do.”
98 per cent of Saskatchewan businesses are small businesses, employing fewer than 50 workers. They’re responsible for a third of the province’s gross domestic product. But, small business confidence has dropped in Saskatchewan for six consecutive months, and is now the second-lowest in Canada.
Broten introduced The Buy Local Day Act in November 2014, following through on a promise he made to grassroots businesses and business organizations, including Saskatoon’s Sasklandia.
The simple idea has faced a rocky road. The Sask. Party government initially strongly opposed the bill. But, after much convincing, they voted in favour of it at the legislative second reading stage on March 12 – a vote that signifies agreement in principle with the proposed law, and an intention to pass it. But, the government failed to bring the bill to its next stage before becoming a law, so Broten asked Tuesday in question period what the hold-up was. The government then flip-flopped again, claiming Tuesday the government MLAs changed their minds and no longer support the Buy Local Day bill. Two hours later, they proclaimed the first Saturday of the month as Buy Local Day.
“The Sask. Party certainly didn’t need to play politics with this one, but we’re pleased they’ve come around,” said Broten.