COLUMN: Victoria Jurgens — Jan. 14, 2014

Victoria Jurgens
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Thanks to the hard work of Saskatchewan people we can reflect on a record-breaking 2013.  Saskatchewan set new benchmarks in areas that include job creation, crop production and population growth.  In fact, our province is experiencing a rate of growth not seen since its earliest days.  This is exciting and something to be proud of.  In the last quarter we welcomed 5,867 new residents and, in the last year, our population has grown by 19,797 people.

Our government is focused on growth, its benefits and how it can create a better quality of life for all Saskatchewan people. Growth creates many new opportunities but we also understand that with growth comes many new challenges. That is why we have more than doubled investments in infrastructure projects like hospitals, schools and highways over the last six years. Managing growth and meeting these challenges was the focus of our latest legislative session.

Saskatchewan set a new record for employment growth in 2013.  Thousands of new opportunities have been created in areas like transportation and warehousing, scientific and technical services, manufacturing and agriculture.  This proves that Saskatchewan’s economy is not only strong but also diverse. Even when one sector encounters job losses, they are more than offset by the new jobs created in other areas.

With more than 12,000 jobs available at SaskJobs.ca, we continue to have the lowest unemployment rate in the country, and a youth unemployment rate that is half the national average.  This does, however, create another growth challenge – a shortage of skilled labour.  Our government has made it a priority to ensure we are training people today to meet the labour requirement of tomorrow.  To that end, we have opened up apprenticeship and skills training opportunities. Specific recommendations for further action are expected early in 2014.

Our government also remains focused on healthcare, with progress to report.  In addition to innovative approaches and pilot programs to provide better quality care, we are on track to meet the targets to provide better, safer surgery sooner than ever before, as outlined in the four year Saskatchewan Surgical Initiative.

Your Saskatchewan Party government has also introduced measures that work to improve safety such as an anti-bullying action plan and new traffic safety initiatives.  Additional investments in infrastructure, affordable housing and care and supports for Saskatchewan seniors, will help improve quality of life for all Saskatchewan people.

While a growing province presents many challenges, our government is meeting those challenges and working to meet the targets outlined as part of The Saskatchewan Plan for Growth: Vision 2020 and Beyond.  As a constituency, Prince Albert Northcote has directly benefited from our government’s growth plan. In 2013, we saw investments in:

• The new 60 bed Pineview Terrace Lodge; 

• Five Habitat Homes completed or in progress;

• Pineland Apartments renovation;

• River Street Apartments renovation;

• Additional shelter space to bring homeless people ‘In From the Cold’;

• Funds to local arenas, recreational and cultural groups in Prince Albert;

• High Schools Emergency Response Training;

• SIAST - expanded the number of Adult Education seats;

• Funding to revitalize downtown Prince Albert, one of only four communities included in the program;

• 100 per cent funding of Diefenbaker Bridge repairs & underwater inspection;

• Increased funding to Women’s Shelter operation and expansion;

• Renovations to Pinegrove Women’s Correctional facility;

• The Hub/Core: A multi-agency strategy that guides families facing challenges to successful outcomes;

• Urgent Issues Action Fund to address resident and staff health and safety in Long Term Care facilities;

• $1.9 million for Targeted Policing Initiatives to reduce crime, victimization and intervention of at-risk populations;

• Pilot Project for In Home Care of some seniors

While Prince Albert residents work hard to improve quality of life, we like have fun too.  Besides the annual festivities in our city, we can look forward to hosting the 2014 Saskatchewan Winter Games in February.  Our government is a proud supporter of the Saskatchewan Games.  They serve as an excellent reminder of our growing province and the benefits gained through physical activity and friendly competition.  Promoting fair play and a healthy lifestyle, these games provide an enriching experience for all participants and leave a lasting legacy of enhanced facilities and the broader reputation of Prince Albert as a sports destination of choice.

 

MLA Victoria Jurgens is the MLA for Prince Albert Northcote. Constituents are always welcome to contact her office by calling 306-922-4220.  You may also visit her website at http://mlajurgens.ca or email mlajurgens@sasktel.net.  Her office is located at 5A 598 15th St. E. across from Superstore.

 

Organizations: Prince Albert, Saskatchewan Surgical Initiative, Saskatchewan Party Urgent Issues Action Fund Saskatchewan Games

Geographic location: Saskatchewan

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