Economy not diverse enough, Stats Can numbers show

Seeing thousands of jobs lost in fields like agriculture and manufacturing is a serious concern, pointing to a lack of economic diversity to get the province through a period of low oil prices.

Statistics Canada’s Labour Force Survey for February, released Friday, shows several non-oil and gas sectors lost jobs compared to one year earlier, including:

  • agriculture, which lost 3,200 jobs;
  • manufacturing, which lost 2,800 jobs;
  • transportation and warehousing, which lost 2,400 jobs; and
  • professional, scientific and technical services, which lost 1,000 jobs.

Saskatchewan now has an overall unemployment rate of 5.5 per cent. The mining, oil and gas sector is down 1,400 jobs compared to last year, and 2,000 jobs compared to a month ago.

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Broten’s Buy Local Day bill wins crucial vote

A bill brought forward by NDP Leader Cam Broten received the support of the legislature today. With the unanimous vote, the bill now moves into the final stages before becoming law.

The Buy Local Day Act will designate the first Saturday of each month as Buy Local Day, in order to raise awareness about the value of supporting locally owned businesses. The Sask. Party government opposed Broten's legislation in the fall, but has now agreed to support it.

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Wall signals property tax increase

Where has all the money gone?

After blowing through more than $75 billion as a government, Brad Wall says he may have to jack up property taxes.

"This government didn't save a dime over a decade of resource wealth. Now, a short-term dip in oil prices has them scrambling to find more money," said Deputy Leader Trent Wotherspoon. "Wall threatened to cut the share municipalities get, which hurts property tax payers, and now he's threatened another hit to families with a property tax increase. It's unacceptable."

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Broten’s focus on challenging misplaced priorities, forcing progress on what matters

NDP leader asks: where did all the money go?

This government keeps neglecting the real needs in classrooms, hospitals and seniors care homes while it continues to spend on wasteful pet projects, says NDP Leader Cam Broten – and that will be the focus of the spring session of the Legislative Assembly, set to start Monday.

Broten said health care, the seniors care crisis, and the deteriorating situation for young students is what should be at the top of the agenda – and he’ll use the spring legislative sitting to push those issues.

“We've had a decade of significant resource wealth. We still have billions more coming in and being spent by this government every year,” said Broten.

“But, more and more, people are asking where all that money has gone.”

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NDP asks: what the heck does government think “essential” travel is?

The NDP wants the government to explain its criteria for “essential” travel after a Crown corporation CEO charged taxpayers for his trip to Oscar parties in Los Angeles.

J.P. Ellson, CEO of Creative Saskatchewan, spent taxpayer dollars on a trip to Los Angeles last weekend for the Academy Award festivities.

“This government’s growing sense of entitlement is turning the so-called non-essential travel freeze into a joke,” said NDP critic for culture Cathy Sproule, who added that this particular example is a painful one for Saskatchewan’s former film industry.

“I’m sure the Sask. Party government’s representative was one of the few current Saskatchewan residents there, after it essentially forced most film industry workers to get out of the industry, or get out of the province." 

Sproule said it's time for an explanation from the government. "Creative Saskatchewan is operating in the culture this government has created, and operating under the Sask. Party government’s rules for spending and travel."

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