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Speech from the Throne: what to watch for

Provincial constitutional rights, resources, trade and immigration expected to be government focuses during the new Session in Regina.
moe paper Premier Scott Moe speaks
Premier Scott Moe speaks at the Chapel Gallery in North Battleford as he outlines the Sask. government's plans to Draw the Line with Ottawa over provincial resource authority — expected to be a focus of the Speech from the Throne on Wednesday.

NORTH BATTLEFORD - Wednesday marks the opening of the Third Session of the 29th Legislature, as Lieutenant Governor Russ Mirasty will arrive at the Legislature for the Speech from the Throne.

There will be an outdoor ceremony starting at 1:25 p.m. in front of the Legislative Building, in which the public is encouraged to attend. It will feature plenty of pomp and circumstance as the Lieutenant Governor will be greeted by Premier Scott Moe, with a 15-Gun Salute by the 10th Field Regiment and a fly over by 15 Wing Moose Jaw among the activities.

"The opening of our Legislative Assembly plays an important role in Saskatchewan's democratic traditions that have taken place for more than a century," Premier Moe said in a statement. "I am proud to take part in today's ceremony and look forward to what we will accomplish for the people of our province during the upcoming session." 

But the main focus from residents will be on what is in the Speech from the Throne itself. The speech, delivered in the Legislature by the Lieutenant Governor, outlines the government’s priorities for the coming session. It will kick off the fall sitting of the legislature which will run for seven weeks into early December. 

For the government, the indication is they will push for more autonomy during this session. During Moe’s appearance in North Battleford on Oct. 11 he released the government's white paper on federal intrusion into provincial affairs, titled "Drawing the Line: Defending Saskatchewan's Economic Autonomy." The policy document includes plans by the province to pursue greater autonomy in immigration and tax collection as well as introduce legislation to protect the province’s constitutional rights.

There are further indications that the province will address a workers’ shortage through seeking a Canada-Saskatchewan immigration accord, and add an international trade office in the European Union. The new Session is also expected to run at the same time that the province will be issuing $500 cheques to residents over age 18 to help with affordability issues. The indication is those cheques will likely be sent out in November.

The Premier is expected to reveal more details at an embargoed news conference with reporters this morning, prior to the Speech from the Throne at 2 p.m. today.

For the opposition New Democrats, this new session will mark the first for new Opposition Leader Carla Beck since winning the leadership in May. It also marks the first session for newly-elected Saskatoon Meewasin MLA Nathaniel Teed, who won the by-election in September. He will officially sign the roll and take his seat for the first time Wednesday.

“Nathaniel energized the people of Saskatoon and won his seat by the largest margin in decades,” said Beck in a statement Wednesday morning. “It really shows that people are sick and tired of paying for Scott Moe’s mistakes and they know Nathaniel will go to bat on their issues and deliver for the people of Meewasin.”

It is expected the New Democrats will focus this session on familiar themes they have pushed during the summer months, including issues of affordability, as well as access to and pressures on the health care system and emergency rooms in the province.