The first session of the new legislative assembly in Saskatchewan is over.
The 26-day session wrapped up on Thursday, extending into June because of April’s provincial election.
“The highlight of the session or for some the major challenge of the session would have been the budget,” said Premier Brad Wall.
He said the budget signaled an important new direction in the province with transformational change, where the government wants to focus on how to better balance quality services while reducing costs.
However, the Saskatchewan Party announced in that budget a deficit of $434 million, driven by lower resource revenues.
Wall said during the spring session they made good on a number of promises including moving forward on the privatization of 40 liquor stores, allowing for private CT scans and enabling eligible post-secondary graduates to borrow up to $10,000 of their unused Graduate Retention Program tax credits to put towards a down payment on their first home.
As far as the rest of the government’s promises?
“We’ll be back in the fall to clean up the ones that aren’t quite done,” Wall added.
This was the first sitting for a total of 17 new MLAs from the Saskatchewan Party and NDP.
“The reality is we came through an election where the premier was certainly not clear with Saskatchewan people,” remarked NDP interim leader Trent Wotherspoon.
He said the deficit budget was full of cuts and claw backs. He pointed out the SaskParty refused to make good on its commitment to teachers’ salaries. Wotherspoon also indicated how the government’s refusal to save and mismanaging of certain projects led to the province’s first credit downgrading in more than 20 years.
Wall confirmed a cabinet shuffle would be coming in mid-August.
The fall sitting begins Oct. 19.