The Saskatchewan NDP is raising concerns about this week’s income assistance program overhaul, saying it amounts to a cut that forces people into impossible choices while they struggle with rising costs. The new Saskatchewan Income Support Program unveiled this week will require people on assistance to pay their own utility bills, but fails to provide enough money to cover those bills. It also mandates social workers to provide “motivational interviews” on making ends meet.
“The cost of living has gone up steeply over the last decade, but assistance rates haven’t budged,” said NDP Leader Ryan Meili. “When you give somebody who is unable to work less to live on than the cost of their monthly bills, no amount of motivational interviewing is going to make up the shortfall. It’s magical thinking.
“Treat vaping like smoking”: NDP proposes measures to curb rising cigarette and vaping usage by Saskatchewan youth
The NDP and advocates are raising concern over a massive hike in youth vaping in Canada, according to a study released today. NDP Leader Ryan Meili is proposing several measures to address the rising crisis.
“The British Medical Journal’s study shows that there has been a 74 per cent increase in youth vaping in Canada – that’s extremely concerning considering the dangerously high rates of youth smoking we have in the province,” Meili said. “We’re going in the wrong direction on creating a healthy path forward for the youth of Saskatchewan. By failing to take any meaningful action, we are failing the kids of this province.”
Long-time MLA Warren McCall announced today that he will not be seeking re-election in the 2020 provincial election. He is currently an NDP Member of the Legislative Assembly representing the constituency of Regina Elphinstone-Centre and is the NDP Critic for Advanced Education, SaskTel, and Parks, Culture and Sport among several others.
“I want to say thank you very much to my friends and neighbours in Elphinstone for having entrusted me with the honour of a lifetime working for them and with them as their MLA,” said McCall.
Overprescribing opioids has been a contributing factor in the province-wide drug crisis, as Jeremy Bohmann can attest. He was hospitalized for 11 days due to a herniated disc and was prescribed opioids to manage his pain. Bohmann joined NDP Mental Health and Addictions Critic Danielle Chartier today to call on the province to implement the Auditor’s recommendations for mitigating the dangerous and damaging misuse of opioids.
“Last year alone Saskatchewan saw 119 deaths related to opioid usage – that’s over a hundred families devastated by the lack of proper action to handle this crisis,” Chartier said. “It’s imperative that we not only help those who are battling addiction, but also create a system where people battling pain aren’t put at risk of becoming addicted.”
Internal government statistics show a spike in the number of new cases of HIV in Saskatchewan in the first quarter of 2019. In response, NDP Leader Ryan Meili is calling on the government to implement a comprehensive HIV strategy – something advocates have been calling for since at least 2016.
“Fifty more people were diagnosed with HIV in Saskatchewan in the first three months of 2019 alone,” Meili said. “That high number of new cases shows that we still have a lot of work to do. We need a comprehensive strategy to address both the stigma and spread of the HIV virus and ensure that those who have it get the treatment they need.”
The Saskatchewan NDP is calling on Premier Moe to make clear his commitment to working with the federal government in implementing a universal, single-payer, public pharmacare system. The call comes after Dr. Eric Hoskins and the Advisory Council on the Implementation National Pharmacare released their final report today, which made clear that the implementation will depend on active provincial support: “As with Medicare,” the report states, “it will be up to individual provinces and territories to opt in to national pharmacare by agreeing to the national standards and funding parameters of pharmacare.”