While it’s true that different levels of government in Canada don’t always agree on everything, it’s also true that a tremendous amount of good work gets done among them on a regular basis nevertheless.
So it was last Friday, when I announced $45 million in federal funding for 75 major water and wastewater infrastructure projects in communities, large and small, from one end of Saskatchewan to the other. This comes on top of federal investments since last year of more than $87 million for similar water-related initiatives in a great many other Saskatchewan communities. With more to come.
The federal government typically covers up to half the costs of these projects. The province contributes about one-quarter and the local community puts in the rest. It’s all about constructive teamwork and partnerships.
As a result, more Saskatchewan people will have secure access to clean, safe, reliable water supplies and environmentally-sound systems for managing waste. But the federal program covers much more than just water alone. When all types of infrastructure are accounted for, federal announcements in and for Saskatchewan since last year total well over $430 million.
Across the country over the next 12 years, we plan to invest more than $180 billion federally in conventional municipal projects like streets, roads, sidewalks, transit systems and water works. Plus provincial priorities like highways that expand trade and safe transportation. Plus social infrastructure, including affordable housing, childcare spaces and facilities for seniors. And projects related to culture, recreation and education. There is special consideration for rural and Indigenous communities. And there’s a Green Infrastructure fund to help us better withstand the damaging consequences of climate change.
Such investments improve our quality of life, while building a stronger foundation for future success. And in the meantime, they stimulate economic growth and good jobs in the most cost-effective manner.
Since we came into office at the end of 2015, the Canadian economy has generated more than 290,000 new jobs and Canada’s annualized rate of economic growth has once again topped 3%. These figures compare very favourably to the meagre performance of the previous 10 years. But there is still a big job to do to bolster the middle-class and all those working so hard just to get there.
Beyond infrastructure, this federal government has a strong record of solid effort with respect to Saskatchewan:
- Our Middle Class Tax Cut and our new Canada Child Benefit have a particularly advantageous impact in Saskatchewan given this province’s demographic mix;
- We have concluded an agreement to upgrade mental health and homecare services, bringing an extra $350 million into Saskatchewan;
- Our two governments have worked constructively together to design a better Canada Pension Plan;
- To help with rural water development challenges, we have transferred 19 federal water dams to Saskatchewan, together with $365 million to cover any future liability issues (and that federal money goes right to the bottom line to bolster Saskatchewan’s fiscal position);
- We have put an incremental $54 million into affordable housing in Saskatchewan over the next two years;
- We have extended the NATO flying training program at the RCAF’s 15-Wing in Moose Jaw;
- We are investing more than $12 million in more than 200 community-based infrastructure, culture and celebratory projects to help Saskatchewan mark the 150th anniversary of Confederation;
- We have contributed more than $150 million toward Saskatchewan-based science, research and innovation, especially at our two Universities;
- In addition to the KeystoneXL line through the United States, we have approved two other major private sector pipelines to move western resources more effectively into both North American and global markets, which will generate 22,000 good jobs overall and excellent business for Evraz Steel in Regina;
- We have introduced new legislation on moving grain by rail to better support farmers, including a more useful definition of what constitutes “adequate and suitable” service, reciprocal penalties, an on-going and improved revenue cap, new tools to promote more competitive behaviour, and greater transparency; and
- We are strongly supporting Saskatchewan’s objectives in international trade—more access for beef and pork into Asia and Latin America, a more secure market for $2-billion worth of canola every year into China, and more short-line farm equipment sales into Europe and worldwide. We have concluded long awaited trade agreements with the European Union and Ukraine. We got rid of costly US Country-of-Origin labelling. We have earned Saskatchewan’s support for our federal stance on softwood lumber. And we are fighting relentlessly to maintain proper market access for Saskatchewan-made steel and pipe.
The work goes on. New challenges will arise. Important future decisions will need to be taken. But the stance preferred by the Government of Canada on issues related to Saskatchewan is constructive collaboration—to get good things done.