Hon. Donna Harpauer spoke on highlights of the budget, responding to questions from the crowd.
Higher vacancy rates in social housing, and a continued commitment the province’s infrastructure were among proofs she gave that the province is "on track." Money for schools, hospitals and community programs were other areas Ms. Harpauer underlined. The minister shared her hope that the province will experience a thriving energy and resource sector, while maintaining the party position that Saskatchewan will not have a federal-imposed carbon tax.
“We remain dedicated to ensuring Saskatchewan is open for business," she said.
Dealing with the deficit, the minister pointed to other provinces, such as Alberta, which are also struggling with debt. Comparatively, eastern provinces are gaining an advantage in managing their budgets because of equalization payments, she said.
The minister alluded to a 2019-20 budget to bring the province back to balance.
Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe was a surprise guest at the event, speaking briefly to the crowd during the question period. Joe Hargrave, Prince Albert Carlton MLA, sat in on the luncheon.
Saskatchewan Rivers MLA Nadine Wilson and former Prince Albert Northcote MLA Victoria Jurgens were also at the event.
Among the opposition, finance critic Cathy Sproule was in attendance, along with Prince Albert Northcote MLA Nicole Rancourt.
Mayor Greg Dionne and members of the Chamber board were among other guests.