For outgoing Weyburn-Big Muddy MLA Dustin Duncan, the spring session of the Legislative Assembly was a good one for the provincial government. The session wrapped up Thursday with the final Question Period before the provincial election, scheduled to be held no later than October 28th, as well as closing remarks from Premier Scott Moe, NDP Leader Carla Beck, and Speaker Randy Weekes.  

“Certainly the budget is always a highlight of the spring session, and I think it was one that you know does make significant improvements and investments in everything from education, health care, municipal revenue sharing and a whole number of other areas,” Duncan stated, looking back at the session overall.  

For his portfolios in cabinet, there were several developments that he saw as positives as well. One of those was the work on small modular reactors, with a number of Memorandums of Understanding being signed, and work starting on one natural gas-fired power plant, and work finishing up on another.  

“It’s really over a thousand megawatts of baseload power, natural gas power, that is really going to be built in a 10-year period of time when Lanigan opens in two, two and a half years from now,” Duncan said. “I think that that’s the largest outbuild of baseload power by SaskPower, I think, actually in my lifetime.” 

As Minister Responsible for SaskEnergy, Duncan also noted the decision to exempt the carbon tax on natural gas heating bills was another big thing for him throughout the session.  

“That’s going to be about $400 for the average household here over the next year in Saskatchewan, and I think provides some a bit of affordability relief at a time when people need it, and takes a strong stand in terms of just continuing to push back against the federal government in their unfair treatment of Saskatchewan compared to other places.” 

In the riding itself, the biggest news for the session was an event held earlier in the month to mark the 30 percent completion of the new hospital in Weyburn. Duncan attended the event with the Minister of Rural and Remote Health Tim McLeod.  

“Unfortunately, a bit of a rainy day, and so we had to do the event inside, but I know he’s (McLeod) looming forward to getting back to Weyburn at a time where he can actually be on the ground and see the construction,” Duncan commented. 

An issue that has become a constant concern for many in the riding has been the condition of some of the highways in the area, particularly Highway 35 heading north from Weyburn. Duncan said he was aware of the issue, and while he couldn’t say for certain if the stretch was on the agenda for work this year, said constituents should watch to see what projects are announced for the construction season.  

Duncan also provided a few comments on the close of the Legislative Assembly, when the Speaker levelled a number of allegations against the government, in particular the Government House Leader, Jeremy Harrison.  

“I’ve known the speaker for many years,” Duncan said. “We’ve been colleagues for the 18 years I’ve been here, and certainly I would have known him when I worked here in the building prior to that,” the MLA said. “I just think the whole thing is unfortunate. I think, you know, to be honest, I feel kind of sad for Randy (Weekes, the speaker). I think that he embarrassed himself yesterday. I don’t think it was fitting of the office that he holds as speaker, and I just think that it’s an unfortunate way for him to end his career.” 

With the campaign for the next election now unofficially underway, as there won’t be a session coming up until after the vote, Duncan will continue to handle his duties as an MLA and a cabinet minister until the Legislative Assembly is officially dissolved. With that, he will be done his time as an MLA, but he won’t necessarily be staying out of politics.  

He noted he will be ready and willing to help, if asked, with the campaign for the Saskatchewan Party nominee for Weyburn-Bengough, Mike Weger.  

“I think Mike’s going to be not only a terrific candidate for the Saskatchewan Party, but I think if he’s successful, and I have every hope that he will be, that he is going to be an excellent representative for the new Weyburn-Bengough constituency.” 

Duncan also had one thing he wanted to add as he ended his career as an elected official representing Weyburn and the area.  

“I know people had known that it was going to be my final week in the assembly and I just cannot thank people who have reached out to me just through emails and phone calls and text messages,” Duncan concluded. “People I haven't heard from now in some cases... a guy that I went to high school with and we just haven't really connected all that much over the many many years since high school and I am just overwhelmed by the people that have reached out to me to wish me well and to offer their thanks, and I can't thank them enough so very appreciative of everybody that's that's reached out with their kind, kind comments.”