Sask. Party must answer for COVID-19 failures: Meili

REGINA - Today, Official Opposition Leader Ryan Meili and Deputy Leader Nicole Sarauer called on the Sask. Party government to call a special meeting of the Human Services Committee of the Legislature. The committee is urgently needed to examine the Sask Party’s dismal pandemic response and a vaccine plan that has left families frustrated and confused. 

“The Premier has repeatedly stood by his comments that there is ‘nothing he would change’ in his pandemic response, but the fact is that Saskatchewan families have paid the price for this government’s failures,” said Meili. “Instead of leading the country into recovery, we have led the country in cases and death rates. It’s unacceptable, and demands accountability.”

Meili noted that there are now at least 7 identified cases of COVID-19 variants in the province, and likely many more given these results date back to January. He called for updated modelling from the province to be presented to the Human Services Committee.

“Every day, my fellow MLAs and I receive calls from people all over Saskatchewan concerned for themselves or their loved ones regarding the vaccine roll-out. It’s frustrating, and yet the government is providing no answers,” said Sarauer. “We are calling on the Premier to do the right thing and allow direct questioning and proper legislative oversight on behalf of the people of Saskatchewan.”

In committee, New Democrats will raise several questions, including:

  • Why did the government refuse to act proactively to prevent the severe second wave in Saskatchewan, resulting in our province leading the nation in case counts and death rates for most of 2021?
  • Why has Saskatchewan’s COVID-19 testing consistently lagged below the national average, and why has the government not staffed up to ensure more testing capacity?
  • Why did the government not take measures to protect long-term care, knowing how badly those facilities were affected in other provinces? How many of the almost 400 deaths in Saskatchewan were residents in long-term care, and specifically at Extendicare’s for-profit facilities?
  • Why did the government sit for months on a rapid-test stockpile that could have been used to slow and prevent outbreaks across the province?
  • What is the plan to get the vaccine to seniors? Will seniors need to leave their homes to get the vaccines, or will there be a plan to get in to see those with limited mobility?
  • What specific plans are in place to provide surge capacity if COVID-19 variants increase case-loads in Saskatchewan?

The role of the Human Services Committee is oversight of health care in the province of Saskatchewan. It has only met once since the last budget was passed.