Province, Sask. NDP business barbs after five years of Mo leadership |

Thursday marks five years for the Saskatchewan premier Scott Moe took office, and the province’s premier and opposition parties wasted no time in making public their differing opinions on Mo’s influence so far.


The Saskatchewan NDP held a press conference at the Legislative Building where leaders carla beck More Jobs and the Economy Critic alina young During Mo’s tenure targeted provincial economic performance.

“There’s not much to celebrate when we look back at the Scott Moe years,” Beck said Thursday.

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The NDP reported that, between January 2018 and December 2021, Saskatchewan’s GDP shrank by six per cent – ​​the worst growth rate of all provinces.

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Beck said, “Let’s face it, sometimes you have to watch the coach when the team isn’t performing.”

Meanwhile, between February 2018 and December 2022, data from Statistics Canada shows Saskatchewan’s employment growth lagged behind all provinces by three per cent.

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“We also have the worst full-time job growth of two percent,” Young said.

He also pointed out that the number of people aged 18 to 30 decreased from 204,789 to 194,309 in 2017.

“During his tenure as premier, 35,856 people have moved through inter-provincial migration. This is the worst record in Canada except for Ontario and I am sure if people were not fleeing the GTA on a large scale during the pandemic then unfortunately we would be dead last there too,” said Young.

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“If I had to sum it up to one thing,” Beck said, “and it’s something we hear everywhere in the province,” it’s a real sense that this is a government that has stopped working with industry. Working with employers, working with municipalities to build the capacity to attract people to the province.

When asked how his party would reverse these trends, Beck said, “The bottom line is working with these communities.”

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“There’s no end to the opportunities out there. We’ve pointed to the minimum wage, for example, which is making it harder to attract and keep young people in the province,” Beck said.

“The solutions that are out there have to be built with those communities, with industry, with workers, with small businesses.”

Young said she would like to see more support for small business owners.

“This is an entrepreneurial province and people currently have limited opportunity to get their foot in the door as small business owners.”

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Meanwhile, Trade and Export Development Minister Jeremy Harrison responded by accusing the NDP of “cherry-picking” the data.

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He celebrated the province’s achievements when Moe defeated ex-civil servant Alana Koch as leader of the Saskatchewan Party following the retirement of outgoing Premier Brad Wall.

“Great things are happening in Saskatchewan as a result of government policies and incentives and under this prominent leadership. We have an all-time population high, with 1.2 million people now choosing to call our province home,” Harrison wrote in a supply statement.

“With record numbers of women and indigenous employment, we also have the second lowest unemployment rate in the country. We have the fastest growing economy in the country, with the Conference Board of Canada predicting that Saskatchewan will lead the pack this year and next.

“There are challenges, and much more to be done. But, we are very proud of Saskatchewan and we are going to work hard to make sure this year is even better than last.”

Global News requested an in-person interview with Mo on Thursday, but the request was not granted.

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Meanwhile, one economist says more context is needed to evaluate claims on both sides of the spectrum.

He noted that, while economic output may have shrunk since 2018, Saskatchewan still has the second-highest GDP per capita among Canada’s provinces.

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“There are good paying jobs here. But, if we’re not growing the jobs that pay well, if we’re not creating new ones, we’re not going to bring in new people.”

He said that while job growth figures show room for improvement, Saskatchewan has a low unemployment rate and a high participation rate.

“Yeah, we’re probably not doing as well as we could have. We’re seeing some migration because of that, but also, with inter-provincial migration, you have to look at the age of the person, what’s going on, Why are they leaving?” Childs said.

“The data is correct. They’re right. But what does that mean?”

Childs pointed out that the 2021 drought significantly impacted economic production in Saskatchewan.

He said as the province recovers from this and the effects of the pandemic, GDP data for 2022 could provide a more accurate look at provincial fortunes. Statistics Canada will release that data by the end of this year.

As far as young adults’ attrition goes, Childs says the trend may be partly due to population trends over the past decades.

“What was the big joke in Saskatchewan in the ’90s? Will the last person please turn off the lights,” Childs said.

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“What did you give your child when you graduated from university? A plane ticket and luggage. If you’re leaving to move to Calgary as a 20-something in the ’90s, you’re not raising kids in Saskatchewan.

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Despite his performance since 2018, the premier of Saskatchewan has indicated he has no plans to vacate his seat.

In a 2022 year-end interview with Global News, Mo said he intended to run for premier again in 2024.

“With the blessing of our caucus, I hope so. It is my intention to run,” he said in December.

“We are closer to the next election than the last. Most certainly we are looking not only at what we can accomplish next year but what we can accomplish over the next few years and beyond. Our plan for growth till 2030 has a few goals that we want to keep us well on our way.

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