Saskatchewan NDP promises new holiday and benefits from the booming economy in the "Speech from the Throne Press Release".


Families and young people will feel real benefits from Saskatchewan's strong economy as a result of a vision outlined in today's Speech from the Throne 2006, opening the third session of the 25th Legislature.

"Thanks to the hard work of Saskatchewan people, our economy is re-energized," Premier Lorne Calvert said. "Our quality of life remains second to none, there are more jobs now than ever before in our history. Our strong economy corresponds with having strong social progress. My government is committed to making life better for today's Saskatchewan families and to build an even better future here for young people."

The Throne Speech, read by Lieutenant Governor Dr. Gordon Barnhart outlines four cornerstones guiding the government's agenda:

• Making Saskatchewan the best place for young people to live, work and build strong futures;

• Strengthening Saskatchewan's leadership in public health care while reducing wait times and improving access to service;

• Advancing Saskatchewan as a leader in environmental protection and the Green Economy; and

• Ensuring Saskatchewan families benefit from the province's strong, prosperous economy.

Highlights include legislation for an annual statutory holiday, Family Day, every February beginning in 2007, to promote a healthy balance between work and family. Saskatchewan's literacy program will expand, and the province will deliver Saskatchewan's Early Learning and Child Care program. The freeze on university tuition will continue. To meet the province's evolving labour market needs, training opportunities will be strengthened through a variety of measures, including expanded partnerships with First Nations and Métis people.

Investment in health care will be the highest ever, resulting in improved access to surgical and diagnostic services, reduced wait times and enhanced efforts to recruit health care providers, including those from the Aboriginal workforce. A new program to aid the certification of international medical graduates will be introduced.

The government will unveil a multi-year transportation strategy that will serve the economy of today and tomorrow, and will dedicate every dollar of fuel tax collected by the province from motorists to be used toward the maintenance and building of Saskatchewan's road network. A multi-year infrastructure fund will be established to enhance life for families and communities, including for cultural and recreational facilities.

The talents of artists and musicians will be showcased during significant cultural celebrations throughout 2007. Measures will be introduced to recognize seniors and to enhance safety and security in communities.

Saskatchewan will continue to fully fund the Canadian Agriculture Income Stabilization Program, while working with industry and the federal government to improve risk management programs. The legislature will be asked to endorse farmers' right to decide the future of the Canadian Wheat Board.

The government is committed to meeting one-third of its long-term energy requirements through renewable resources, and is working in partnership to research the feasibility of the world's first clean coal generating facility.

Measures to ensure a safe water supply, to assist with energy conservation and to develop the bio-fuels industry will be introduced.

"In this 21st century, it is important that we continue to spread word that Saskatchewan is a great place to live, work and raise a family," Calvert said. "We are home to a diverse, robust and fundamentally strong economy. Our doors are open, with enough opportunities for people here at home, and those from

abroad. Ours is a province where we are down to earth, but where the sky is the limit. Our time is now."

The Throne Speech and highlights of the speech are on the Government of Saskatchewan website at