Premier Brad Wall knew he wouldn’t be the most popular man in Saskatchewan after Wednesday’s budget, but he’s fine with that.
People across Saskatchewan have had a few days to digest the budget, and there still seems to be some negativity when it comes to things like increasing the provincial sales tax and shutting down the provincial bus line, STC.
Premier Wall realizes that, but reinforces his stance that his government has done the right thing with the measures announced as they attempt to balance the budget in three years.
“We think it is the right thing to do,” explained Wall. “In part because we’re going to ensure our competitiveness, and we’re going to move our dependency away from resource revenues. It’s a hard thing to do, but it’s vitally important.”
Alberta Premier Rachel Notley was one of the people to criticize the budget, saying many things — like the decision to remove the PST exemption on kids clothing — is something she wouldn’t do because that kind of change isn’t in line with her government’s values.
Wall said he’s not interested in her advice, considering her recent track record.
“Since she’s become the Premier in Alberta, she’s raised every tax — she’s raised the personal income taxes and the business taxes, she’s raised the property taxes,” explained Wall. “She started a brand new carbon tax — a multi-billion dollar carbon tax.”
Wall said he has devised a plan for this province to get the books balanced again.
While people aren’t happy with some of the measures introduced, he said it’s the job of his MLAs to let people know why moves were made.
“We need to resolve to continue down this tougher path because we know we need to get to balance,” said Wall. “It is about ensuring that Saskatchewan’s economy stays strong in the long-term, so we can pay for the very services that many people protesting are passionate about.”
One of those things that people seem to be passionate about is the impending closure of STC.
Wall admits it was a very tough decision to make, but one that had to be made because the provincially-owned bus line was no longer feasible.