Statement about Conversation with Prime Minister Trudeau
The growing discontent in Saskatchewan is of real concern to me. People are worried about their jobs, about social issues, and are frustrated with not being heard by the Federal Government. This is something we can see from the election results, and I hear these concerns regularly from residents.
This is a moment when our citizens are looking to us as leaders to sit down and problem solve, to have honest and direct discussions to find answers to the tough issues we face. This is what I try to do in my role as Mayor every day and we need to do as a country right now.
This was also my main message in my conversation with the Prime Minister: to let him know about the concerns and experiences of Saskatoon residents and to discuss how they could be addressed.
I raised how there is a feeling that the specific issues being faced on the Prairies have not been given priority and that it is critical to take steps that will not allow a sense of alienation and the divide between regions in Canada to grow. I believe that talk about separation is damaging to both us as citizens of Saskatoon as well as the unity of our country, and we must act quickly to address this.
There are particular concerns about our resource sector and ensuring that we are not left behind.
We need to ensure that Saskatoon people have strong job opportunities and that we are not left out of changes to the resource sector as the new economy develops. We have to lead in this area, not play catch up. Saskatchewan plays an important role in the world, providing the food, fuel and fertilizer that communities need. As we see the global economy changing and work to respond to climate change, we want to know that Saskatchewan’s role in the economy of our country is recognized by the Federal Government and included in the policies and programs moving forward.
I emphasized the need for dialogue that includes the Federal, Provincial, Municipal and First Nations leadership.
It is so important in the immediate days and weeks for the Prime Minister to listen to all the leaders in our province – the Premier, other mayors, community leaders and Indigenous leaders – to understand the reality on the ground here and to build policies and programs that are relevant to our specific situations. Local leaders are the first point of contact for the frustrations and challenges people are facing, and can be part of building solutions that address these concerns.
I know there are also concerns about a lack of direct representation from Saskatchewan in the Federal Government, and the importance of ensuring direct points of contact for us to continue moving forward on the major issues that we face in our city. This makes cooperation with cities and all levels of government even more important.
I am committed to continuing discussions with the Prime Minister to make sure Saskatoon’s issues are heard.
I was also immediately in touch with Premier Moe after my conversation with the Prime Minister to keep him informed of what we discussed, because we need to all be able to work together for the best interests of our citizens.