Time to ‘push back’ against federal government, Conservative leaders say at Sask. pro-pipeline rally


The battleground for pipelines and the oil and gas industry was set in Moosomin, Sask., on Saturday, as the federal  Conservative Leader blasted Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for his handling of the energy file.

« His attack on Canada’s energy sector is by design. It’s on purpose, » Andrew Scheer told the audience gathered for the pro-pipeline rally, also attended by Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe, New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs and Conservative Senator Denise Batters.

« This is the one area where he’s doing exactly what he said would do. »

Trudeau has spoken about transitioning Canada away from fossil fuels. Scheer says, if he becomes prime minister, he would  promote Canadian oil and gas. 

« I will travel around the world promoting Canadians’ energy sector, as a source of ethical and responsible and sustainable energy around the world, » he promised, to cheers from the audience.

The federal government had bought the Trans Mountain pipeline in order to make progress on a stalled project, but a Supreme Court blocked further progress, ruling that Canada’s efforts to meaningfully consult with Indigenous people, as required by law, fell short.

Scheer criticized Trudeau for overpaying for the pipeline by $1 billion.  

« Justin Trudeau paid more than the sticker price for a pipeline that he can’t even build, » he charged.

Crowds gathered in Moosomin, Sask. to hear from various politicians and other pipeline advocates. (Trevor Botherel / CBC)

Scheer had set the stage for Saturday’s pro-pipeline appearance with an appearance in Saskatoon on Friday night, talking about the need to build pipelines.  

« We know that the best way to transport that energy, the most environmentally friendly way, taking oil and gas off of rail cars, is to build pipelines, » Scheer said, while speaking in Saskatoon on Friday, one day before news of a derailment of a train carrying crude oil in Manitoba.

« We need a government that has a plan to get them built through the private sector by providing certainty and clarity in approvals process and that’s what my plan will do. »

Scheer said his plan, if he is to become prime minister in this year’s election, would be to repeal a carbon tax and repeal Bill C-69, which he argues muddies the approval process for pipelines. Bill C-69 provides a process for assessing the environmental, health, social and economic effects of pipeline and other projects.

Instead, these pipelines need to be declared in the national interest, because of the benefits they confer to every single region, said Scheer.

« And come October, after forming government, we will start to clean up the mess that [Trudeau’s] left us, » he promised the crowd.

Moe also took to the stage, saying the strength of the audience on a frigid February day spoke volumes about their frustration with the downtrodden oil and gas sector.  

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe walks through the crowd before speaking at a pro-pipeline rally. He said ‘It’s time for us to begin to push back and we need to push back pretty hard’ against the federal government. (MIchael Bell/Canadian Press)

« For far too long, this conversation has been dominated by those who disapprove of how you and myself and and our neighbours in this province make a living in our communities, » he said, adding the federal government was simply not listening to people whose livelihoods depended on sectors like oil and gas and mining.  

« The moment has come in the nation of Canada. It’s time for us to begin to push back and we need to push back pretty hard. »

Speakers were scheduled to address the crowd on issues affecting the oil and gas sector. (Trevor Botherel / CBC)

Moosomin economy driven by energy 

The rally was organized by Moosomin Economic Development, with Moe saying that the southern Saskatchewan town of about 2,500 people was among the communities that depended on a thriving oil and gas industry. 

A news release indicates « Moosomin would have played a part in the cancelled Energy East project with a 1,050,000 barrel tank farm planned for the Moosomin Compressor Station and a feeder pipeline from Cromer, Man.,  to the Moosomin Compressor Station, both part of the Energy East plan. »


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Yorkton, Sask. men fined, suspended for hunting under the influence


Two Yorkton, Sask., men have been fined and handed suspensions for hunting while under the influence of marijuana.

Saskatchewan conservation officers said the men were found in a vehicle parked on Wildlife Development Funds lands near Calder, Sask., in September 2018.

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Signs in the area state the lands are “foot access only.”

2 American hunters face Saskatchewan poaching charges

Officers said there was a strong smell of burning marijuana when they approached the vehicle.

An unspecified amount of marijuana and a loaded firearm were found in the vehicle during a hunter compliance check, Environment Ministry officials said.

Timothy Eashappie, 37, and Colby Barnhardt-Peepeetch, 20, were charged with hunting under the influence of a narcotic and possession of marijuana.

Both pleaded guilty recently in Yorkton provincial court.

Five men from Quebec fined for illegally hunting in Sask.

Eashappie was also charged with driving with a suspended licence and operating a vehicle on wildlife lands. He was fined a total of $1,250.

Barnhardt-Peepeetch was also charged with having a loaded firearm in a vehicle and fined a total of $1,480.

They also received two-year hunting suspensions.

Officials said hunting under the influence of alcohol or narcotics is not only illegal, but extremely dangerous.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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Brother, sister from Fort Qu’Appelle, Sask. win $1 million with lottery ticket


Saskatchewan Lotteries says Fort Qu’Appelle siblings won $1 million on the Jan. 11 Western Max draw.

Michele Hahn and her brother Gerhard Hahn plan to share the winnings with family.

Record 15 Saskatchewan million-dollar lottery wins in 2018

“We both decided a long time ago that if we ever won the lottery, a lot of people would benefit from the win,” Gerhard said in a press release.

“It’s really nice that we’re able to make things easier for everyone.”

Kindersley man takes trip to Hawaii to clear head after $1M Lotto Max win

Michele bought the winning ticket at the Pharmasave on Broadway Street in Fort Qu’Appelle.

The Hahn siblings’ lucky numbers were 2, 25, 34, 36, 37, 46, and 49.

Fort Qu’Appelle is around 60 kilometres northeast of Regina.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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Want to warm up to winter in Sask.? Here are a few ways to embrace the cold – Saskatoon


With temperatures about to drop to -40 with the windchill, it can be hard not to want to hibernate inside. Let’s face it though, winter is still around for a while so instead of fighting it, why not find ways to embrace it?

Here are a few things you could do in and around Saskatoon to keep preoccupied and you might even learn to love our winter wonderland in the process.

Lack of snow poses challenges for Sask. farmers looking ahead to spring


The Fishin’ Hole in Saskatoon.

File / Global News

Hooked on Fishin’

The colder it gets outside this time of year, the busier business is at The Fishin’ Hole in Saskatoon.

“When you get cold weather like -20, -25 – guys wanna go ice fishing,” Fishin’ Hole manager Brian Dygdala said.

“We’ve got a lot of different species of fish but a lot of lakes. So if you want to go to a small little lake and catch some perch, walleye and pike then the next lake and catch some rainbow trout, tiger trout – there’s lots of variety,” Dygdala said.

If you keep it simple, you could have a whole new hobby for less than $100. You’ll want to see where people are setting up their ice shacks in the hopes of catching a fish and remember to bundle up in good gear.

“Wear good clothing, you’re going to be out in the cold. It might feel warm in the city but when you’re out on the lake it can be cold.”

Ways to warm up: From making mittens to drinking wine 

Looking for ways to strip down instead of layering up? Why not try hot yoga at a studio near you to keep Jack Frost from chilling you to the bone.

You can also warm up with a glass of icewine or at Saskatchewan’s Wolf Willow Winery – they offer a sweet mead along the same style. It’s 14.9 per cent alcohol so it is similar to icewine. We’re told it’s enjoyed best as an apéritif or digestif.

There’s also mitten making and mini mukluk workshops at Wanusekwin Heritage Park. The classes range in cost from $40 to $120, all the materials are provided and it’s for ages 16 years old or older.

Settle in for some stargazing

Check out these cold photos taken during the winter months of what the Land of the Living Skies has to offer. Now’s the perfect time to spot the Orion Constellation even from your backyard or take an adventure out of the city with the kids.

“Although the summers nice and pleasant, we don’t have really dark, dark skies,” said Tim Yaworski, member of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada.

“So the beauty of taking a look at the night sky in the winter is – if you got kids, you can do with the kids way before bedtime.”

Northern Lights can be tricky to see this time of year because it’s an occurrence based on the sun. Yaworski spotted a few in the last couple of weeks but said the big thing to circle on your calendar is a ‘Super Blood Wolf Moon.’

“This Sunday on the 20th, starting at 9:30 there’s a total eclipse of the moon,” Yaworski explained.

“You won’t even need to go to the country to see it, it’s going to start in the eastern sky and progress until about just before one o’clock in the morning.”

A rockin’ good time

Some fun findings revealed during a survey by Intercontinental Hotels Group show one third of millennials preferred to travel within Canada during the winter months and more than 60 per cent consider our country a go-to destination during winter.

In Saskatoon, if you have a staycation planned – fun is just a stone’s throw away. Crokicurl is back on Broadway, with crews readying the rink over the weekend.

“We were so impressed last year we had hundreds of people come out,” said DeeAnn Mercier, executive director of the Broadway Business Improvement District.

“We had school groups, seniors citizens groups, differently-abled people come out and give it a try – it was so fun.”

What made it so popular is because it’s so different and if you didn’t get a chance to curl in school, here’s your chance!

“This is no pressure, you can just give it a try and see how it goes!” Mercier said.

Crokicurl is set to make it’s debut at Winterruption taking place January 23 to 26 and will stay there until Family Day in February.

“January and February can be quite a slow period for local businesses and it’s a great time of year to be active so we really wanted to do something that encouraged people to get out see what it was all about then maybe go for a hot chocolate or an adult beverage in the area.”

Have some ideas on ways to celebrate the cold?

Residents are invited to share their ideas on other ways to celebrate Saskatoon during the coldest months of the year!

Events will be held starting Jan. 25 in order to help the city and stakeholders develop a ‘WinterCityYXE’ strategy aimed an revealing what makes Saskatoon unique as a four-season community.

If you’ve got some cool concepts up your sleeve, you’re encouraged to attend one of the following sessions:

Winter City Café – Prairieland Park

  • Friday, Jan. 25 (9 a.m. – 5:15 p.m.)
  • Saturday, Jan. 26 (9 a.m. – 12:20 p.m.)

Wintershines – Saskatoon Farmers’ Market

  • Saturday, Jan. 26 (1 p.m. – 4 p.m.)

For weather on the go, download the Global News SkyTracker weather app for iPhone, iPad or Android.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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Sixties Scoop survivors prepare for Sask. premier’s apology


As Saskatchewan Sixties Scoop survivors prepare for Premier Scott Moe to deliver an apology, those that helped survivors share their stories are split on what it means.

On Monday morning at the legislature in Regina, Moe will make a long promised apology for the government’s role in separating Indigenous children from their culture, language, families and identity. It is an apology Rod Belanger is not ready to accept.

« I’m not in favour of the apology at this time. I’m doing this because I’m wanting our people to get back a part of their voice, » Belanger said.

In the fall, the province partnered with the Sixties Scoop Indigenous Society of Saskatchewan (SSISS) to hold sharing circles. The SSISS made a number of recommendations to the province and within weeks the province announced it would deliver the apology.

The Sixties Scoop saw saw tens of thousands of Indigenous children across Canada taken from their families and adopted out across the country and the world, mostly to white families, between the 1960s and the 1980s.

Belanger, 57, a member of the SSISS, was apprehended at around age 3. He was fostered by a white family, and said he experienced physical abuse and ended up in a group home at age 12.

Belanger met his birth mother and sister when they showed up at a neighbourhood pool in Regina.

« I was a little bit shocked seeing my mother and sister standing before me, » Belanger said.

He eventually met his father and other relatives.

« There is a honeymoon stage when we are reunited with our families and then we find out we’re totally different people. »

He said there are some fairytale endings for survivors who reunite with their birth families but this is not the norm.

Belanger said his difficult upbringing led him to crime and incarceration. He said he was saved when he got involved in traditional dance.

Apology almost split survivor group

Belanger said the SSISS leadership almost split during the course of eight sharing circles for survivors that were held across Saskatchewan.

« Half of us felt they were going to get something out of the apology and half of us felt ‘this is a bunch of bulllshit,' » he said.

« The apology is a huge controversy right now. »

He said the government needs more time to realize what has happened and understand what it is apologizing for.

Belanger will dance at Monday’s apology even though he said he is not in favour. (Submitted to CBC)

Hearing the apology ‘not easy,’ says survivor

Melissa Parkyn considers herself lucky compared to other Sixties Scoop survivors.

« I’ve heard lots of stories and I was lucky to grow up in a good home, but just the only thing was losing my culture and my language and that identity loss. It took a lot of work for me to work on myself and who I was, » said Parkyn, co-chair of the SSISS.

Parkyn was born in North Battleford, one of 14 kids to a single mother. She was adopted out as part of the Sixties Scoop at six months and grew up in Alberta. She was raised by a white family. Parkyn found her birth family when she was 18.

« I didn’t know I was Cree. I didn’t know my First Nations background, my culture, my language, » said Parkyn.

She said she knows hearing the apology « is not going to be easy. »

Melissa Parkyn was adopted at six months to a white family. She reunited with her birth family after graduating high school. (Submitted by Melissa Parkyn)

Parkyn said many survivors could not attend the sharing circles; others struggled to tell their painful story.

« There were some that couldn’t even walk through the door. They felt it was so hard to tell their stories. They just handed over a letter; that’s how hard it was to walk inside and tell their story, »

She said others chose not to attend and some don’t want the apology at all.

« There are still lots of Sixties Scoop survivors that never came home. And if they did find their way home, they didn’t have a chance to meet their family or they’re still looking. It’s really hard for them to bring up their stories because they’re so tragic, and the abuse was not good at all. »

Both Parkyn and Belanger want the province’s actions to extend past the formal apology. Their recommendations include hosting more sharing circles, adding the Sixties Scoop to school curriculum and releasing apprehension records.

Saskatchewan will be the third province to issue an apology, following Manitoba and Alberta. In May, Alberta Premier Rachel Notley delivered her apology. She closed by saying sorry in seven Indigenous languages. 


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‘I had a goal, and I set out to do it’: Yorkton, Sask., man walks across Canada — just because


It was mid-February when Zayell Johnston splashed water from the Pacific Ocean on his face in Victoria, B.C. and  set off on a long and often torturous nine-month trek across Canada.

The Yorkton, Sask., man, 27, would earn the nickname « Gump » from friends and strangers — in honour of the fictional movie hero Forrest Gump — as he logged 11.5 million steps on his Fitbit, trudging through snow, hail and rain in his push to fulfil a personal goal.

That’s right. He walked 9,000 kilometres across Canada just because he wanted to.

« I’m just a normal, everyday dude, » Johnson said. « I had a goal, and I set out to do it. »

Most people who walk, run or bike across Canada do so to raise money for charity or awareness of an issue. But for Johnson, it was a personal journey.

He recorded videos along the way and gave the trip the title: « Just out for a walk ».

Peace of mind

It all started seven years ago, Johnston recalls, when he graduated from high school and drafted a five-year « to do » list to keep moving forward in life. The list included finishing college, getting a job, backpacking across Europe, developing six-pack abs and walking across Canada.

« I don’t know how I got the crazy notion of walking across the country, but I didn’t want drive across it, » Johnson said. « At the end of the day, you can never see Canada in one go. All of Canada — I think it’s impossible, there’s too much. » 

Zayell Johnston averaged 50 kilometres a day on his walk across Canada.

Before his succesful trek Johnston wasn’t having much luck checking things off of his personal list. He did spend two months backpacking in Europe, but was struggling in other parts of his life. After losing his job in Vancouver, he returned home to Yorkton and set his sights on completing a cross-Canada journey.

Why am I putting myself in this situation? Why am I torturing myself?– Questions asked of himself by cross-Canada trekker Zayell Johnston

« At the beginning of the journey, you could say I was running away to kind of to reflect on where I was at in life, » Johnson told CBC News.

He posted a picture of a highway on Facebook with the caption: « Oh travel be kind, I’m searching for some peace of mind. »

As with all trekkers, he knew the contents of his backpack would be vitally important. It weighed about 20 kilograms and included a tent, a sleeping bag, camp stove, long johns, two pairs of underwear and wool socks. He carried a GPS so his mother could track his movements.

He officially started his walk at Mile 0 of Trans Canada Highway in Victoria, which is also home to a statue of Terry Fox, whose attempt to across Canada on one-leg to raise money for cancer research made him a national hero. 

9,000 kilometres

Johnston had only walked for a couple weeks before hitting blizzard conditions on the Coquihalla Highway in the B.C. Interior. He spent a month working at a ski hill, then mailed his winter jacket home to his mother and kept heading east.

When he was pummeled by rain near Revelstoke, B.C., he did some serious introspection: « Why am I putting myself in this situation? Why am I torturing myself? » Johnston says he asked himself. « Like, nobody cares that you’re doing this. You don’t have to walk through this. »

But again, he had set a goal and was determined to achieve it. 

Zayell Johnston celebrates the end of his journey at Cape Spear, N.L, the easternmost point in Canada. ‘No words can describe this moment and no camera could truly capture how I felt.’ (Facebook/Zayell Johnston)

Over the next seven months, he soldiered through physical exhaustion and loneliness as he averaged 50 kilometres a day.

He wore out four pairs of shoes and choked down countless protein bars and peanuts. He also developed a deep love and respect for wool socks. 

Kindness of strangers

Johnston had a budget of $7,000 for equipment and necessities, but rarely used it for motels or restaurants. He pitched a tent in fields and private areas, and couch surfed at the homes of friends and strangers.  At times, he went a couple weeks without a shower or laundry.

That, he notes, is what made the kindness of strangers so remarkable at times.

« You can imagine what I smelled like in the middle of the summer, » he said. « But there were people scattered throughout northern Ontario who offered me a place to stay, and it was definitely appreciated because of the summer heat there. » 

Zayell Johnston pitched a tent in fields and private spots as he walked across Canada, and rarely paid for a motel or campground. (Facebook/Zayell Johnston)

Johnston crossed the country, a step at a time, with only two tiny « cheats » when he felt he had no choice but to accept a ride.  One was near the B.C.- Alberta border when a forest ranger told him they were doing avalanche control with explosives. The ranger forbade Johnson from walking through the area, but offered him a 10-minute ride to other side of the blast zone. The second ride was from a stranger outside Winnipeg. 

« I was walking through torrential downpours and hail for about 10 minutes, » Johnson said, when a truck pulled over, its  driver insistent on giving Johnston a ride to an underpass two kilometres away, where he could hide out from the rain.

Pinnacle moment

When Johnston reached Thunder Bay, Ont., he pitched his tent near the monument that marks where medical issues force Terry Fox was forced to stop his cross-Canada run. Johnston says he was deeply moved by Fox’s words etched into stone:

« I just wish people would realise that anything is possible if you try. Dreams are made if people try. »

In mid-November, just before sunrise, Johnston stepped onto a cliff’s edge at Cape Spear, N.L., the easternmost point in Canada, for what he calls his « pinnacle moment. » He was 30 pounds lighter than when he started, his face covered with a long beard. Chilly winds slapped his face as he hoisted his backpack into the air and let out a triumphant yell. 

« It was surreal, » Johnson said. « That moment was so brief, but the hard work took so long to get there. I wish those moments would last a little longer, but that’s just the beauty of it. The end. The payout. »

Johnston splashed his face with water from the Atlantic Ocean and recorded the final instalment for his video diary. 

He wrote this caption: « No words can describe this moment and no camera could truly capture how I felt. » 

Johnston had set up a Gofundme campaign to help cover expenses, but it only raised $620 and he didn’t need most of it. So at the end of his trip, he divvied it up and sent cheques for roughly $50 to the Canadian Mental Health Association branch in all 10 provinces.

Now that Johnston can check his cross-Canada walk off his list, he says he can move on to other goals, such as paying off his student loan, becoming a forest firefighter, and the continuing quest for those elusive washboard abs. 

Zayell Johnson logged 11.5 million steps on his Fitbit during his nine-month trek. (Facebook/Zayell Johnson)


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Sask. in 2019: Tax hikes, fees & new regulations


Saskatchewan residents are ringing in the New Year but with it comes some fee changes and new regulations to be aware of throughout the province.

Regina tax & utility hikes

Regina residents can expect to pay more taxes as of January 1st.

City council voted to raise the mill rate to 4.33 per cent at its budget meeting in December, meaning the average homeowner with a house valued at $350, 000 will pay around $86 more in property tax.

Residents will also see a slight increase on their utility bill due to a three per cent water rate increase, every year for the next three years.

The increase will translate to roughly an extra four dollars on your monthly bill.

Saskatoon civic rates & fees

The Bridge City will see a property tax increase at 4.4 per cent effective Jan.1.

Water and wastewater rates will also go up overall by 9.25 per cent.

Residents will also have to pay more for other services including licensing their pets or playing a round of golf at a public course.

Potential provincial carbon tax implications

The federally imposed carbon tax’s fuel levy is expected to come into effect April 1st.

According to gasbuddy.com this could impact gas prices in the province and right across the country.

Senior petroleum analyst Dan McTeague warns a five per cent per liter carbon tax could result in a jump at the pumps.

This prediction comes as gas prices hit a two year low in the province.

Meantime, the natural gas break that took effect in November for homeowners and businesses in Saskatchewan could be short lived due the carbon tax.

SaskEnergy dropped its commodity rate to the lowest offered since 1999 and could see another drop by April 1st, however the crown corporation warns the tax could have implications for residents.

Officials say the average residential natural gas bill could increase 12 per cent which translates to $100-$120 more per year.

Saskatchewan will fight the carbon tax in court in February.

Provincial park passes

There is some welcome news for outdoor enthusiasts when it comes to booking sites at provincial parks.

Starting in April residents can reserve campsites with an upgraded online reservations system and this year seasonal campsites will be moved to the online reservation system.

Due to high demand, there will continue to be a queuing system for book reservations in Saskatchewan.

There will also be some increases to passes including the annual park entry permits which will increase $10 to $75.

Weekly permits will go up to $40 and three-day entry permits are no longer available in the 2019 season.

Seasonal electrical sites are up $500 to $2,600.

You can see a full breakdown of prices and learn more on booking reservations here.

 Mandatory truck-driver training

New mandatory semi-driver training following the Humboldt Broncos Bus crash will also come into effect in January.

As of March 15 the rules will apply to drivers seeking a class 1 commercial license in the province, meaning potential semi-truck drivers will require a minimum of 121.5 hours of instruction.

The new training will focus on professional driving habits, vehicle inspections and air-brakes.

Officials have said changes were the in the works since 2017 but the April 6th tragedy that claimed 16 lives expedited the process.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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Warman, Sask., bar teams up with Prairie Transit to provide safe rides home on New Year’s Eve – Saskatoon


The small town of Warman, just outside of Saskatoon, has come up with a system to ensure those leaving their local bar on New Year’s Eve end up at home, safe and sound.

“We have gotten together with Tosh’s Bar and Grill and decided we would start off the new year on the right foot and give everyone a safe ride home, and we will be continuing that on through the new year,” said Valerie King, Prairie Transit owner and operator.

GoFundMe page raises nearly $18K for family who lost 11-year-old girl in crash

After Warman residents Dawn and Sam Schnurr lost their 11-year-old daughter in a head-on collision just days before Christmas, the community decided to come together to ensure another tragedy doesn’t occur.

“We want to support the family that lost the little girl so Prairie Transport is donating any tips that are given to the family, and for people that don’t need a ride, there will be something on the bar if they want to donate,” said Elaine Cousen, owner of Tosh’s Bar and Grill.

SGI has been stressing the importance of driving sober during the holiday season.

1 dead, 3 injured after head-on collision north of Saskatoon

Leading up to Christmas, police cracked down on stop checks, but the number of impaired drivers remained high for the month of November. Police across the province reported 255 impaired driving-related offences, 325 seatbelt-related offences, 728 distracted driving offences and 5,022 speeding-related offences.

Not only will Prairie Transit offer rides to residents in Warman but also to people in Martinsville and Osler as well.

“I think it’s important to keep our community safe, especially our rural areas are kind of left behind, and they need safe rides home as well,” King said.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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Sask. film industry seven years after the provincial tax credit cut


It was almost seven-years ago when the Saskatchewan Film Tax Credit was axed, an industry that once saw multi-million dollar movies made now is barely hanging on.

“We’re not gone, we’re just smaller,” ACTRA Saskatchewan Union Branch Representative Mike Burns said.

“We certainly are productive and we are still creative, and the industry is funded by Creative Saskatchewan which does a good job with the resources that they have. Unfortunately, resources they have are under what required to attract larger productions here.”

The province’s Creative Sask. gives the film industry two million dollars through grants.  A study commissioned by the Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce and Sask Film that was done in 2012 said the industry generated $44.5 million in economic spinoffs and created about 850 jobs when the tax credit was available.

READ MORE: Chamber says Saskatchewan film tax cut kicked industry out at the knees

“We do continue to see activity in the province although it has declined, some film producers have chosen not to film in Saskatchewan, but overall we have not seen an impact in our provincial economy when it comes to that,” Ministry of Parks, Culture and Sports Dep. Asst. Minister of Stewardship Candace Caswell said.

“In Manitoba, they had a $220 million in business in 2018, in Alberta, almost $300 million, this isn’t small business this a big business,” Burns said.

While the industry still sees independent and low budget films using what Saskatchewan has to offer, Burns hopes to see bigger budget films make their way back to the province.

It would take a plot twist in this year’s provincial budget, which the premier has already said it’s going to be tight.

“We think eventually there will be a bigger and better film industry here again,” Burns said.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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Scott Moe uses fight against carbon tax to define 1st year as Sask. premier


Scott Moe is almost one year into his tenure as Saskatchewan premier and he has used his opposition against a federal carbon tax as a major front in the early battle to define his leadership.

Moe points to the pending tax as one of the biggest economic headwinds facing his province. Since replacing Brad Wall as premier at the end of January, he has asked the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal to rule on whether the federal government’s plan to impose one on the province is constitutional.

UCP, Suzuki Foundation granted intervenor status in Saskatchewan carbon tax challenge

The province argues its own climate change plan, which doesn’t include a carbon tax, is enough to reduce emissions.

“We need to ensure that we are able to stand up against these policies and ensure that we can continue to grow our economy so that we can have the opportunity to invest in the services that people expect,” Moe said in a year-end interview with The Canadian Press.

WATCH BELOW: Sask. premier calls carbon tax a ‘vote-buying scheme’

Moe has aligned himself with fellow anti-carbon-tax crusader, Ontario Premier Doug Ford. The two have visited each other twice and held a joint news conference at a premiers meeting in New Brunswick this summer.

Moe said Ford was elected to fight the carbon tax and Moe admires Ford’s ability to do what he says he will.

Moe is the first to admit he’s brought a different style to the job than Wall. Wall had was consistently ranked as one of the country’s most popular and well-known premiers and his gift for delivering a good sound bite made him popular on the national stage.

Moe said replicating that has never been his goal.

“I’ve just tried to be myself and I think that’s important if there’s going to be any success at all,” he said.

Saskatchewan says federal government not doing enough to resolve western oil crisis

Saskatchewan’s Opposition NDP also has a relatively untested leader as well.

Ryan Meili, named to the party’s top job in March, has raised mental health, addictions and Indigenous issues over the last year.

He doesn’t think the province should go ahead with the carbon tax court case.

“The thing that concerns me is they (government) have no backup plan,” he said in a year-end interview. “They got this court case which nearly every expert, it’s pretty clear, (says) is highly unlikely to be successful. And even if it is, it’s months and maybe even years away.”

Meili said the government has resisted taking action on climate change and that has been harmful.

“Certainly nothing you could refer to as leadership, and that’s been an embarrassment,” he said.

The Appeal Court will hear the case in February.

And Moe said he is looking forward to the next federal election in October 2019. The next provincial election is October 2020.

“It’s an interesting time for people that are political watchdogs,” Moe said. “We look forward to the next number of months.”


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