Meili: Sask. Party’s $260 million contingency fund “insulting”; investment needed now to fight COVID-19 emergency

REGINA - In the first Question Period of the legislative session, Official Opposition Leader Ryan Meili called on Premier Scott Moe to immediately release the $260 million in contingency funds the government has amassed, and to use that funding to fight the second wave of Covid-19.

“The second wave is not a contingency – it is an emergency. It’s insulting to families and to health care professionals throughout the province that the government is sitting on this money. Case numbers are rising and people are worried about their loved ones and their livelihoods,” said Meili. “But despite knowing for months that this was coming, the Sask. Party now has $60 million more in contingency than it started with in June.”

Meili noted that the Sask. Party government is now leaving the rough equivalent of one point of  PST on the table. “That’s wrong, and it is hurting our response to the pandemic. This $260 million – invested now – could make a real difference to our overwhelmed healthcare system and help to pull us back from the worst-case scenario.”

Yesterday, the same day the government released its Speech from the Throne, COVID-19 hospitalizations reached a record high (123, with 23 in ICU). Saskatchewan also reached a record-high 3,879 active cases in the province. There were 181 new cases today and, tragically, four new deaths.

Meili also called for a full accounting of the $440 million in federal funding the province has received for additional measures to fight the pandemic. Despite receiving millions from the federal government for childcare and to support vulnerable populations, the province has not rolled out financial support to these sectors, and has not yet clearly delineated how much federal funding remains to be spent.   

“Yesterday was another missed opportunity from this Sask. Party government to fight the pandemic,” said Meili. “Our overwhelmed healthcare system needs immediate support at every level. At a time when people are struggling, we should be planning to invest to get through this together, not making life harder for families and those on the front lines of the fight against the pandemic.”