NDP Leader Ryan Meili and members of his opposition caucus gathered in front of the Saskatchewan Legislature Thursday to call on the premier to put forward a plan to reopen the legislature.
“Before COVID-19 hit, key public services were stretched too thin, with not enough staff in emergency rooms, long-term care and overcrowded classrooms,” said Meili. “Too many people in Saskatchewan were already struggling to make ends meet. Many more are struggling now.
“This crisis has deepened those struggles and made action more urgent. We need a real plan from this government, not a warmed-over budget that predates the crisis. We need a plan that responds to the deep economic challenges ahead, not the Sask. Party’s usual crisis playbook of deep cuts and privatization.”
Since the pandemic began, Meili has repeatedly called on the premier to treat the emergency as an all-hands-on-deck moment, drawing on local leaders and diverse sectors to provide the best response possible.
With the province now in Phase Two of reopening, Meili is repeating his call for the presentation and debate of a full budget, including a plan for Saskatchewan’s economic recovery.
“We are prepared to negotiate, but we expect them to clearly explain why it is not possible to introduce and fully debate their budget, if that is part of the proposal they put forward,” said Meili. “‘It’s hard’ isn’t an excuse. Saskatchewan people know that things are hard right now and are stepping up in so many ways. We expect our leaders to do the same. We’re here and we’re ready to work.”
Premier Scott Moe said the discussion to reopen the legislature to resume business is a separate discussion that is taking place.
“My understanding is there is an option that has been provided by the government house leader to the opposition house leader. We hope that we would be able to move forward with the introduction and passage of a budget,” said Moe.
“I won’t preclude or put that option into the public realm as I think it is important for the government leaders in their respective caucuses to discuss that,” he added.