🗳️ Speaker sparring

Federal budget details, Beck addresses SUMA delegates, and there's animosity with the Speaker

April 17, 2024 | Advertise with us

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Good morning. A new report suggests 32 per cent of Canada's small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) have subscribed to ChatGPT to simplify their operations, more than double compared to a year ago. But don’t worry, we don’t use ChatGPT to write this newsletter…but maybe we…should?? 😉

Here’s The SKoop for Wednesday, April 17:

  • Federal budget is unveiled in Ottawa,

  • SUMA delegates hear from Carla Beck, and

  • Sparring with the Speaker has become a thing, apparently.

Today’s Top Stories

Federal Budget unveiled in Ottawa

Federal Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland tabled the government’s 2024-25 budget yesterday in Ottawa.

A key proponent of the Budget is ‘Canada’s Housing Plan’ which aims to “unlock” 3.9 million homes by 2031. Some of the ideas are similar to those that Conservative Leader Piere Poilievre is promising, such as converting underused federal offices into housing. 

The government will also be taxing vacant land, and bringing in changes to capital gains taxes, increasing the taxable amount from 50% to 66.6% for capital gains over $250,000.

The government will also bring forward a carbon tax rebate for small businesses, a measure that the business community has long called for, and increase the ‘sin’ tax on smoking and vaping products.

As he often does, Saskaton Chamber CEO Jason Aebig took to social media to let Saskatoon businesses what the budget means for them:

Minister Freeland said Canada will post a $40 billion deficit this year, with Canada’s overall debt reaching $1.4 trillion. The interest costs to service the debt has reached a record high of $54.1 billion - more than the federal healthcare budget.

Pollster Angus Reid said the budget clearly targets Millenial and Gen X voters.

🏞 There’s infrastructure we like, such as parks, recreation facilities, pools, and more.

🏥 There’s infrastructure we need, such as hospitals, care homes, clinics and schools.

🛣 Then there’s the infrastructure that helps pay for it all, including roads, rail, air, and trade corridor access.

We can’t forget just how important that last piece is to all the others.

Learn more about the great work the Saskatchewan Heavy Construction Association and its members are doing at saskheavy.ca.

SUMA delegates hear from Beck

NDP leader Carla Beck addresses delegates at the SUMA convention.

The SUMA Convention continues in Regina as delegates from municipalities across the province gather and hear from leaders. On Monday it was Premier Moe who addressed the crowd, and today it was the NDP leader’s turn.

Carla Beck highlighted concerns around mental health and addictions, saying “There’s a lot of concern about infrastructure funding, concerns about mental health and addiction and how that’s disproportionately impacting municipalities.”

Speaking to media after her address, Beck noted how the delegates are there because they want to get to the table and deliver results, saying “Local leaders don’t have the benefit of hiding away in a marble palace, they deal with the decisions that are made every day.”

SUMA convention delegates will have an opportunity this morning to grill the Premier and cabinet ministers during the “Bear Pit” session.

Tense legislative session puts spotlight on Speaker responsibilities

MLA for Biggar Sask Valley and Speaker of the Legislature Randy Weekes.

This session, Speaker of the Legislative Assembly Randy Weekes has garnered attention (including both praise and criticism) in how he has handled proceedings in the Assembly chamber. The biggest point of contention between government and opposition MLAs has been the use of the word “lie” during Question Period and using language that may imply a member is dishonorable. The Speaker has often said “You cannot do indirectly what you cannot do directly,” and has asked members to apologize and withdraw their remarks. If they do not, they will be removed from the Assembly. The idea is for the Speaker to be an impartial referee in the Assembly and ensure there is decorum, accountability, and respect amongst all members.

Things have come to a head in recent days when Weekes ‘named’ cabinet minister and House Leader Jeremy Harrison after Harrison refused to apologize for a statement that was inaudible for viewers on the live stream. In the same exchange, Finance Minister Donna Harpauer was forced by Weekes to apologize for a private text she sent to the speaker in which Harpauer told the Speaker he had let the chamber dissolve into an “opposition puppet show.” Weekes made the extraordinary move of reading that private text into Hansard, the official record of the Assembly.

Politicians sometimes knowingly accuse each other of lying in an effort to be removed from the house. Earlier this session, NDP leader Carla Beck was removed from the chamber for saying Jeremy Harrison lied about her support for a carbon tax. Sask. United leader Nadine Wilson was removed for saying the government was lying about their 2030 agenda.

The chamber was notably less raucous on Tuesday, but as the final stretch of this contentious session continues on we may expect to see further disagreements and rulings made by a Speaker who is not seeking re-election this fall (he was defeated in a Saskatchewan Party nomination race by Kim Gartner), is becoming increasingly unpopular and estranged from his government caucus colleagues, and MLAs wanting to rhetorically gear up ahead of the October vote.

2024 Election Candidate Tracker

  • Premier Scott Moe - Rosthern Shellbrook

  • Lisa Lambert - Saskatoon Churchill-Wildwood

  • Muhammad Fiaz - Regina Pasqua

  • Jeremy Harrison - Meadow Lake

  • Lori Carr - Estevan-Big Muddy

  • Eric Schmalz - Saskatchewan Rivers

  • David Buckingham - Saskatoon Westview

  • Bronwyn Eyre - Saskatoon Stonebridge

  • Steven Bonk - Moosomin-Montmartre

  • Jeremy Cockrill - The Battlefords

  • Ken Cheveldayoff - Saskatoon Willowgrove

  • Gene Makowsky - Regina University

  • Alana Ross - Prince Albert Northcote

  • Christine Tell - Regina Wascana Plains

  • Hugh Nerlien - Kelvington-Wadena

  • Marv Friesen - Saskatoon Riversdale

  • David Marit - Wood River

  • Doug Steele - Cypress Hills

  • Terry Jenson - Warman

  • Daryl Harrison - Cannington

  • Travis Keisig - Last Mountain Touchwood

  • Everett Hindley - Swift Current

  • Todd Goudy - Melfort

  • Sean Wilson - Canora-Pelly

  • Warren Kaeding - Melville-Saltcoats

  • Tim McLeod - Moose Jaw North

  • Paul Merriman - Saskatoon Silverspring

  • Terri Bromm - Carrot River Valley

  • Joe Hargrave - Prince Albert Carlton

  • Colleen Young - Lloydminster

  • Jim Reiter - Rosetown-Delisle

  • Jim Lemaigre - Athabasca

  • Kim Gartner - Kindsersley-Biggar

  • Khushdil "Lucky" Mehrok - Regina South Albert

  • Blaine McLeod - Lumsden-Morse

  • Megan Patterson - Moose Jaw Wakamow

  • Darlene Rowden - Batoche

  • Laura Ross - Regina Rochdale

  • David Chan - Yorkton

  • James Thorsteinson - Cut Knife-Turtleford

  • Rahul Singh - Regina Northeast

  • Riaz Ahmad - Regina Coronation Park

  • Ghislaine McLeod - Saskatoon University-Sutherland

  • Jamie Martens - Martensville-Blairmore

  • Maureen Alice Torr - Saskatoon Meewasin

  • Barret Kropf - Dakota-Arm River

  • John Owojori - Saskatoon Southeast

  • Nicole Rancourt - Prince Albert Northcote

  • Joan Pratchler - Regina Rochdale

  • Betty Nippi-Albright - Saskatoon Centre

  • Aleana Young (Regina South Albert)

  • Trent Wotherspoon (Regina Mount Royal)

  • Nicole Sarauer (Regina Douglas Park)

  • Meara Conway (Regina Elphinstone Centre)

  • Matt Love (Saskatoon Eastview)

  • Nathaniel Teed (Saskatoon Meewasin)

  • Erika Ritchie (Saskatoon Nutana)

  • Vicki Mowat (Saskatoon Fairview)

  • Jordan McPhail - Cumberland

  • Melissa Patterson - Moose Jaw Wakamow

  • Bhajan Brar - Regina Pasqua

  • Tammy Pike - Martensville-Blairmore

  • Darcy Warrington - Saskatoon Stonebridge

  • Tajinder Grewal - Saskatoon University-Sutherland

  • Carolyn Brost-Strom - Prince Albert Carlton

  • Noor Burki - Regina Coronation Park

  • Jared Clarke - Regina Walsh Acres

  • Jacqueline Roy - Regina Northeast

  • Brenda Edel - Rosetown-Delisle

  • Tom Kroczynski - The Battlefords

  • Don McBean - Saskatoon Chief Mistiwasis

  • Grady Birns - White City-Qu'Appelle

  • Lenore Pinder - Yorkton

  • Lorne Schroeder - Kelvington-Wadena

  • Thera Nordal - Last Mountain-Touchwood

  • Cheantelle Fisher, Moose Jaw North

  • Kim Breckner, Saskatoon Riversdale

  • Alana Wakula, Saskatoon Willowgrove

  • Trina Miller - Batoche

  • Sally Housser - Regina University

  • Wynn Fedorchuk - Canora-Pelly

  • Mike Tapola - Wood River