REGINA - As expected, the 2023-24 Saskatchewan budget has passed a confidence test at the legislative assembly.
MLAs voted 44-9 in favour of the motion from Minister of Finance Donna Harpauer that “the Assembly approve in general the budgetary policy of the government.”
The budget was passed with the support of 43 Sask Party MLAs as well as Saskatchewan Rivers MLA Nadine Wilson of the Saskatchewan United Party. Nine NDP MLAs voted against.
Prior to that, the legislature voted on an amendment by Regina Rosemont MLA which would have replaced the words “approve in general the budgetary policy of the government” with the words “does not approve the budgetary policy of the government because it fails to provide cost-of-living relief for families, fails to make needed investments in health care and education; and further, that the Assembly has lost confidence in the government.”
That amendment failed by a 44-9 vote, with Wilson again voting with the government.
The Saskatchewan budget was presented in the legislature last Wednesday. That budget posted a $1 billion surplus and saw no increases in taxes or new taxes.
Budget debate wrapped up in the Legislature Thursday. Opposition Leader Carla Beck was among the speakers that morning as she once again voiced opposition to the budget.
“Mr. Speaker, this is a budget that missed the moment, that missed the mark,” said Beck. “And you know what, Mr. Speaker, this government doesn’t need to take my word for it. But I will offer them one small piece of advice: you ought to be listening to the people of this province. Mr. Speaker, I trust the people of this province. And I have full confidence that they know their lives, their struggles, and their hopes better than anyone else. And they tell us, the people of this province tell us that this is a budget that failed to deliver for them.”
In her concluding remarks just prior to the votes, Harpauer said the following as recorded in Hansard:
“I’m going to conclude using the same remarks that I actually concluded when I gave the budget address, and that is that Saskatchewan’s population is growing at its fastest pace in more than a century. More people are working in the province than ever before. And this budget is about more people, more jobs, more opportunities. It’s about more doctors, more nurses, and more surgeries. It’s about more students, more schools, and more affordable child care. It’s about safer families and safer communities. It demonstrates strong fiscal management, a brighter future, and a better quality of life for all of Saskatchewan people. That is what this budget is about, and that is growth that works for everyone.”