There are few surprises in the 2016 speech from the throne, as it contains much of the promises made by the Saskatchewan Party in the election.
The big spending promises are contained in it, with an extra $70 million over four years for highways, two-for-one CT scans, a $7.5 million reduction in health region administrative spending, and the privatization of some liquor stores.
One new aspect is an all-party committee being formed to look at how to increase organ donation in our province and improve what Premier Brad Wall described as “our dubious record”.
It could mean in the future patients must opt-out of donating organs.
“That is an option, and there is a spectrum of them,” Wall explained. “We’re going to have the health and human services committee engage in that kind of consultation.”
The government is also looking at “transformational change” in the way public service is delivered.
“Do we have the right number of health regions? Do we have the right governance structure even in education?” Wall mused.
Discussions will now start and be ongoing as Wall looks to improve service while at the same time find ways to reduce cost.
These ideas don’t impress the opposition NDP, with interim leader Trent Wotherspoon calling it a throne speech of “small thinking”.
Wotherspoon maintains Saskatchewan needs a bright future which won’t come out of this agenda.
“This government shines a little light on the new dome but no light on the state of our finances, no light on the budget, what this means for classroom, on their GTH land scandal.”
Before the speech from the throne was delivered, the assembly also elected a new Speaker of the house.
On a second-round vote, Saskatoon Eastview MLA Corey Tochor beat out veteran and incumbent MLA Cannington’s Dan D’Autremont.