Remarks by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance on agriculture, critical minerals, and good jobs in Saskatchewan 

Speech

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Colonsay, SK - August 24, 2022

I first want to acknowledge that the land we are gathered on is Treaty 6 Territory and the homeland of the Métis.

I’m so glad to be here in Saskatchewan today and I want to start by pointing out that I’m here on Ukrainian Independence Day.

Saskatchewan and the Prairies and Ukraine have a long shared history—Ukrainian immigrants helped settle this province more than a century ago. And I know that Ukrainian- Canadian culture and traditions are a part of life for so many people here.

I know that in recent months, hundreds more Ukrainians have come here to Saskatchewan after being forced to flee their homes by Vladimir Putin’s illegal invasion, and I am really grateful to the people of Saskatchewan for welcoming them so warmly. And you know, when I got off the plane in Saskatoon last night, one of the first things I saw was a blue and yellow flag. I think the people seeking refuge here will have taken great comfort from that. So thank you very much, really. It means a lot.

And I want to thank the incredible workers of Mosaic here at Colonsay for showing me the amazing work you do.

The first work I ever did was on our family farm, and I remember my grandfather saying to me when we came home from swathing one evening: “You never need to question what your purpose is when you’re working on a farm. You’re helping to feed people.” And I know that everyone who works here has that same profound understanding of the meaning and the purpose of what they do.

So, thank you so much for what you do. I am proud of you and I’m proud of the contribution you’re making to Canada and the world.

People producing potash in Saskatchewan are feeding the world. That is not an exaggeration. Canada is the world’s largest producer and exporter of potash—32 per cent of the world’s total in 2020. Farmers around the world depend on our potash, on the potash you see right there. And that means millions and millions of people depend on the work that is being done, right now, to eat.

At a time when Russia and Belarus are, quite rightly, being shut out of the global economy because of Vladimir Putin’s barbaric invasion of Ukraine, the work being done here is more important than ever. The work you’re doing here also is helping the very brave people of Ukraine by providing the world with an alternative to Russian and Belarussian exports. Canada, Saskatchewan, Colonsay, Mosaic—these are reliable leaders, world leaders in potash production. The world can depend on us and the world can also know that the potash they buy from Canada meets the very highest standards—the highest democratic standards, the highest environmental standards.

And it isn’t just potash. Canada exported more than $82 billion worth of agricultural and food products last year. That means thousands and thousands and thousands of great, valuable jobs for Canadians, and it means millions of people around the world eat every day because of the work we are doing.

That’s why our government is working hard to ensure that our farmers, our agricultural sector—here in Saskatchewan and across the country—can continue to grow, continue to create good jobs, and continue to feed Canadians and the world for generations to come.

It’s why, for example, in our April budget, we announced a Canada Growth Fund that will help attract billions of dollars in private capital to support the growth of traditional industries like agriculture.

It’s why we committed $1.5 billion to help farmers adopt the sustainable practices and technologies they know they’ll need to stay competitive in a changing global economy.

And that changing global economy can be really good news for Saskatchewan.

Critical minerals, for example, are central to massive global industries like clean tech, health care, and computing.

We are so lucky that Canada is so rich in natural resources; that we have such an abundance of the critical minerals and metals that Canada and our allies need to produce everything from fertilizer to phones to electric vehicles. And as a province that is a global leader in potash and uranium production, and an emerging producer of more than 20 critical minerals, this means huge economic opportunities for Saskatchewan.

That’s why, in the spring budget, we set aside up to $3.8 billion to implement Canada’s first Critical Minerals Strategy. And this is a strategy that is going to help our economy grow and help create thousands of good-paying middle class jobs like the ones I have heard so much about here today.

Our plan includes doubling the Mineral Exploration Tax Credit to 30 per cent—providing an excellent incentive for even more businesses to invest here in Saskatchewan.

I know how important industries like mining and agriculture are to the economies of western Canada. I know how much it means to have places like this one; businesses like this that provide great jobs with a great community and a really good living for people.

And I want to say to the great people I have met today—to the great people all across Saskatchewan—that our government is absolutely committed to jobs, to economic growth, and to being a partner for workers and businesses across Saskatchewan.

Thank you very much. 

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