Return of the Saskatchewan Legislature

Return of the Saskatchewan Legislature

The fourth session of Saskatchewan’s twenty-ninth Legislature will begin today following a Speech from the Throne. The session marks less than a year until the next provincial election in 2024. 

Parental Rights Focus

MLAs returned earlier this month, debating and passing Bill 137, An Act to amend The Education Act, 1995 respecting parental rights, better known as the Parents’ Bill of Rights. The Legislature was convened earlier on October 10 to pass the Legislature, which invoked the “notwithstanding clause” under section 33 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Earlier this summer, Saskatchewan followed New Brunswick in an educational policy requiring parental consent for students seeking to change their preferred name or pronouns at school. Following a Regina Court of King’s Bench injunction on the policy, the government moved quickly in the Legislature. Following passage last Friday, the Bill 137 received Royal Assent is now enforced across the province.

Premier Scott Moe had earlier said that the policy was based on wide consultation. Research shows substantive support for the policy, not just in Saskatchewan but nation-wide. New Saskatchewan NDP leader Carla Beck and her caucus have opposed the government’s position on this policy. If the debate in New Brunswick and past debates in other jurisdictions such as Alberta are any indication, it can be expected that the NDP will continue raising the issue both inside and outside the Legislature. 

New Changes in Cabinet

Premier Scott Moe made changes to his cabinet over the summer, a move not uncommon for governments a year out from an election. The size of cabinet remains unchanged at 18. 

Most notably, Don Morgan and Dana Skoropad, who are not seeking re-election next year have left cabinet. Don Morgan, who has been in cabinet since the Saskatchewan Party formed government in 2007, has taken on a new role as Provincial Secretary. 

New faces

There were two new additions to cabinet:

  • Tim McLeod is the new Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, Seniors and Rural and Remote Health.  
  • Joe Hargrave has rejoined cabinet as Minister of SaskBuilds and Procurement. 

New roles

Six existing cabinet ministers took on new roles:

  • Everett Hindley became Minister of Health.
  • Jeremy Cockrill became Minister of Education.
  • Dustin Duncan became the new Minister of Crown Investments Corporation and Minister responsible for all the major Crowns, including SaskPower, SaskEnergy, SaskTel, SGI and SaskWater, as well as Minister responsible for the Public Service Commission.
  • Christine Tell became the Minister of Environment.
  • Paul Merriman became Minister of Corrections, Policing and Public Safety and Minister responsible for the Firearms Secretariat.
  • Lori Carr became Minister of Highways.

What to Watch

With less than a year until election day, the two main parties will be positioning themselves with voters. The next election will be Premier Scott Moe’s second as leader of the Saskatchewan Party and NDP leader Carla Beck’s first.

Saskatchewan’s next provincial budget will come in the Spring, the final pre-election budget before next fall’s vote. Speaking to reporters last week, Premier Scott Moe stated ahead of this week’s Speech from the Throne that “we understand there’s affordability concerns at the family level.” Like other provinces, Saskatchewan shows that rising cost of living concerns are top of mind for residents. The government could soon be making an announcement on housing assistance. Earlier, Premier Scott Moe noted that “We’ve been looking closely at where we can have the largest impact in Saskatchewan…would that be in the space of rental properties or affordable housing ownership.”

There are several issues between the Government of Saskatchewan and the Federal Liberal Government in Ottawa that will likely be front and centre in the lead up to the next election. The federal government’s goal of a net-zero electricity grid by 2035 remains strongly opposed by the province. Last spring, Premier Scott Moe called the plan “impossible and unaffordable,” joining SaskPower at an event outlining a more realistic 2050 goal. The Saskatchewan NDP also came out against the federal policy, putting the Saskatchewan NDP at odds with both the federal wing of their party and Rachel Notley’s Alberta NDP in the neighbouring province. 

Election Watch

The coming year will be the last for several Saskatchewan Party government incumbents. In addition to former Ministers Don Morgan and Dana Skoropad, others not running include Greg Ottenbreit, Fred Bradshaw, Ken Francis, Delbert Kirsch, Greg Lawrence, and Terry Dennis. For the NDP, Jennifer Bowes and Doyle Vermette are not seeking re-election.

Party nominations are already ongoing for the expected October 28, 2024 election. 

To learn more about how the coming year may impact your organization, please reach out to one of our advisors:


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