There seems to be a bit of a mood change going on in Saskatchewan.
We’ve been dealing with a string of big-picture challenges lately. They seem to be out of our control even though they have the potential to affect us in a large way. That kind of lack of control can be unsettling.
We’ve got challenges on the political front where Ottawa seems unwilling to step up on the pipeline file which is crucial to us improving our oil exports, and with them, the prices we see here in the province. Add to that a carbon tax fight, uncertainty over big trade issues like NAFTA, tariffs on steel and lentils and you have a brew that can be unsettling.
We are starting to see this uncertainty show up in consumer spending patterns. Sales of new motor vehicles are down, retail spending is flat to negative and now we have numbers on spending in bars and restaurants. In March, we were one of only two provinces that posted a decline. It was modest, but it is noteworthy.