What to Expect
Saskatchewan will begin the process of re-drawing electoral boundaries, with a new three-person commission being announced Thursday. About 100,000 people moved from rural to urban Saskatchewan – mostly Regina and Saskatoon – over the last ten years (the last time the commission was struck). This could see rural areas, where the Saskatchewan Party is strongest, lose some seats. This may generate some political discussion in the province this week, especially as the former CEO of the Saskatchewan NDP, Frank Quennell, and Joe Donlevy, the former Chief of Staff to Premier Brad Wall, are on the commission.
The estimates for Executive Council will be presented in the Legislature for approval tomorrow. These are typically the last of the estimates required to approve the budget. “Premier’s Estimates,” as they are known at the Saskatchewan Legislature, normally run for three hours and are a head-to-head debate between the Premier and the Leader of the Opposition. This will be one of the last opportunities for Ryan Meili to put a stamp on his legacy as NDP Leader as the session winds down.
Finally, Premier Moe announced in Question Period that there may be a “substantial” increase to the minimum wage. At $11.81 Saskatchewan’s is the lowest in the country. This will be a hot topic with the NDP likely pushing for more than the Premier’s offer given businesses’ interest in minimizing the impact.
In Manitoba, provincial politics will take a back seat as candidates for Winnipeg’s mayoral race begin registering. The first to declare was 2018 runner-up Jenny Motkaluk, with businessman Rick Shone and Councillor Scott Gillingham joining soon after. Winnipeg is home to approximately 60 per cent of the province’s population, and so local politics can take on a provincial nature. Meanwhile, flooding will preoccupy Manitobans, as high rainfall has elevated rivers throughout the southern and central parts of the province.
The Week That Was
The federal and provincial governments announced the extension of the AgriStability enrolment deadline to June 30, 2022.
More than $35.9 million in joint federal-provincial funding is committed via the Green Infrastructure Stream to 24 new infrastructure projects across Saskatchewan.
The province has increased intensive care unit capacity by six new beds in three provincial hospitals:
two new beds at Regina General Hospital;
three new beds at St. Paul’s Hospital; and
one new bed at Prince Albert Victoria Hospital.
In an effort to support economic growth and recovery, Manitoba is committing $50 million to establish the Venture Capital Fundwhich will lever the government capital through independently managed funds with capital from the private sector. Additionally, the Small Business Ventre Capital Tax Credit, which was initially intended to be temporary, will be made permanent.