On the same day the Sask. Party voted down an NDP motion calling for a suicide prevention strategy, NDP Leader Ryan Meili joined Samwel Uko’s uncle Justin Nyee to welcome the announcement of a Coroner’s Inquest into Uko’s death, and to urge the government to act to prevent further deaths by sucide in the province.
Today the Sask. Party government voted down Bill No. 618 — The Saskatchewan Strategy for Suicide Prevention Act, which had been introduced by NDP Critic for Northern Affairs Doyle Vermette in November.
“I’m at a loss,” said Vermette. “So many lives in our province, particularly in the North, have been devastated by the death of a loved one because of suicide. Many of those people joined us here in the Legislature to call on the government to act. How am I to explain to those families this government’s unwillingness to do what is so badly needed right now?”
With government figures showing average wait times last year of approximately 13 hours to get an inpatient bed at the Regina General Hospital and the Dubé Centre in Saskatoon, the Saskatchewan NDP is calling for an inquest into the death of Samwel Uko, who twice sought help in a Regina Emergency Room the day he died.
“The system failed Samwel Uko,” said Meili. “Sadly, he wasn’t the first person who sought help in a mental health emergency and didn’t find it. But we can and must make sure he’s the last, which is why we’re calling on the Province to call an inquest today.”
Today NDP Labour Relations and Workplace Safety Critic David Forbes introduced Bill 621, an Act to amend The Workers’ Compensation Act, 2013 to provide presumptive Workers’ Compensation Board coverage for workers exposed to COVID-19 on the job.
“We’ve seen this pandemic take a heavy toll on working people throughout the province,” Forbes said. “People are struggling, living paycheque to paycheque, and are unsure how they will make ends meet. They deserve to have assurances that they’ll have presumptive coverage if they happen to fall ill. Other provinces are working on this, and we should as well.”