Sask. premier prefers to focus on promising economic trends in 'State of the Province' speech
Taking the stage in a city that has been the province's hotspot during COVID-19's fourth wave, Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe delivered his "State of the Province" speech.
Last week Moe revealed some ICU patients would be transferred to Ontario to help relieve pressure on Saskatchewan's healthcare system and miltary help was announced for the province over the weekend.
Moe, while acknowledging the province is finding its "way through what's been a very, very tough fourth wave of COVID-19," signaled he wanted to focus on positive economic trends.
"The progress that we're seeing as we deal with significant challenges in this global pandemic," Moe said.
The keynote address at a Saskatoon Chamber of Commerce luncheon comes ahead of Moe's forthcoming throne speech scheduled for Wednesday.
Before he started his speech, Moe joked that he's "still struggling on when to shake hands and when not to shake hands" as Nutrien CEO Mayo Schmidt wrapped up the premier's introduction and handed off the podium.
Moe began by praising Schmidt's recent appointment to the potash giant's top job before pivoting to the pandemic and the challenges it has posed for businesses.
"We're living through a lot in a very short period of time, it hasn't been easy," Moe said.
He thanked health-care workers and reiterated his stance that unvaccinated people are responsible for the current COVID-19 surge in Saskatchewan.
Moe said he didn't think it would be right to impose "sweeping restrictions or sweeping orders" on those who have "done the right thing" by getting vaccinated.
The Premier spent the bulk of his speech trumpeting positive economic stories.
"I think we should all be focused on our future as we find our way to better days," Moe said at one point.
New canola crushing plants in Regina, a resurgent forestry sector and the success of Saskatchewan technology firms were among Moe's highlights as he made his case why "this coming decade will be Saskatchewan's decade."
The premier got a chuckle from the audience at one point when he alluded to a forthcoming "helium action plan" to help the industry grow in the province.
"I just want be clear I'm not announcing that program today, I'm just going to float that trial balloon out there and see how it goes."