SASKATOON — Scott Moe’s target was the federal government Thursday as he gathered with supporters for the first in-person Saskatoon Premier’s Dinner in three years.
The premier’s speech promoted the province’s booming resource sector, which has seen surging investment and increased market prices since the last dinner gathering.
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Moe said growth has always been and will continue to be the Saskatchewan Party government’s “North Star.”
He told the crowd he has felt disenfranchised, disillusioned, disturbed and even dumbfounded at times with Ottawa’s decision-making.
“But we are not discouraged, and we are not backing down,” Moe said during the fundraiser dinner at Prairieland Park.
The premier pointed to a policy paper highlighting his government’s plan to flex its autonomy, as well as a bill introduced this fall to address federalism.
Moe has long pushed against Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the Liberal government’s environmental policies in the name of Saskatchewan’s resource sector. He cautioned that Canada could be moving too quickly into renewable energy without a proper backup plan.
“You can ignore reality, but you can’t ignore the consequences of reality,” he said to applause.
Moe pointed to Saskatchewan’s role in responding to global food and energy shortages caused by Russia’s war in Ukraine. The resulting worldwide demand has brought increased production in Saskatchewan’s potash, uranium and agriculture industries.
Moe said there’s also investment in rare earth elements and critical minerals.
The boon has had a positive effect on the provincial finances, Moe said, and his government expects to balance the budget ahead of schedule and retire $1 billion in debt.
Moe also acknowledged the next provincial election is under two years away. The Saskatchewan Party won its fourth majority government in 2020 and holds 48 of the province’s 61 seats.
He said his government is best positioned to defend and build on the province’s economic prosperity.
The Opposition New Democrats have criticized Moe for bragging about how well the provincial coffers are doing without responding to inflation or challenges in the health-care system.
Moe also took time in his speech to acknowledge the leadership of Chief Wally Burns of James Smith Cree Nation, who was in attendance.
He said the community and province faced an unimaginable tragedy in September after a mass stabbing left 11 dead and 18 others injured on the First Nation and in the nearby village of Weldon.
“Chief Wally Burns has had to dig deep and provided excellent leadership, not only for his community but all of us in the province.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 1, 2022.