NDP calls for investment in municipalities for Saskatchewan’s economic recovery

Today, Trent Wotherspoon, NDP Critic for Municipal Relations and Finance, called on the provincial and federal governments to provide additional funding as grants to help compensate for serious revenue losses and interest free loans to support property tax deferrals to municipalities impacted by COVID-19. The NDP is also calling for the provincial government to invest in Saskatchewan’s economic recovery by removing the PST from construction labour for municipal projects. 

“Mayors and councillors across our province are stepping up in so many ways to ensure people have the essential services they need as we all deal with the economic fallout from this pandemic,” Wotherspoon said. “But with facilities like rinks and swimming pools closed, and with far fewer people taking public transit, these local leaders are facing massive revenue shortfalls that they simply cannot respond to adequately on their own. The province needs to work with the federal government to support our cities, towns, villages and rural municipalities.”

Public deserves answers on Health Minister’s handling of recent outbreaks

The Saskatchewan NDP is asking the Minister of Health to answer for recent communications breakdowns in the handling of COVID-19, including the initial downplaying of the La Loche outbreak, which has now spread to Prince Albert and other communities in the Northwest, and the delay in notifying the public about the Lloydminster outbreak.

“With a growing number of local outbreaks, the Health Minister should be doing everything possible to provide the public with timely information they can trust,” said Meili. “Unfortunately, that trust was shaken last week. We need clear and complete answers for why the public was told repeatedly that the outbreak in La Loche was under control, why the decision was made to delay notifying people about the outbreak in Lloydminster, and what the Minister is doing to improve communication and coordination.”

Statement from Nicole Rancourt on the outbreak at Victoria Hospital

In response to the news that an outbreak has been declared at the Victoria Hospital in Prince Albert, Prince Albert Northcote MLA Nicole Rancourt issued the following statement:

“While the news today is concerning for the people of Prince Albert, specifically those with a loved one working or receiving treatment at the Victoria Hospital, I know that the people of Prince Albert are strong and resilient.

NDP says more action needed on childcare

To help combat the uncertainty for families and childcare centres caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Saskatchewan NDP is calling for the government to provide bridge funding for unused childcare spaces.

“As we start to open some workplaces, parents need safe places to send their kids, including school-aged children,” said NDP Childcare Critic Carla Beck. “We also know childcare operators across the province have been struggling to stay open with fewer kids attending and more limitations around their operation. The workers and the operators of these centres deserve our thanks, but they also deserve our support.”

NDP calls for action to address COVID-19 outbreak in Northwest Saskatchewan

Today, NDP Leader and Critic for First Nations and Métis Relations Ryan Meili, joined by the MLA for Athabasca Buckley Belanger and Northern Affairs Critic Doyle Vermette, pressed the province to take urgent action to stop the COVID-19 outbreak in La Loche and Patuanak, and provide emergency funding support for Northern municipalities.

“The province needs to step up with real, tangible support for Northern communities to address this outbreak,” said Meili. “If they’re truly hearing the frustration the mayors of these communities are voicing and the measures they are calling for, they would be doing more. What little they’ve done so far isn’t enough – Northern leaders need to be actively involved in developing and implementing our province’s COVID-19 response.”

NDP calls for $3 million aid package to protect the most vulnerable

Frontline organizations have repeatedly raised the alarm over a critical lack of provincial funding. In response, NDP Leader Ryan Meili is calling on the province to provide $3 million in emergency funding: $1.5 million for organizations running frontline emergency shelters, and $1.5 million in emergency funding for Saskatchewan food banks.

“If they won’t step up because it’s the right thing, they should at least do it because it’s the smart thing,” said Meili. “The best way to stop this virus from spreading is to stop the most vulnerable from getting it. That means ensuring everyone has enough food and somewhere safe to self-isolate.