NDP Leader Ryan Meili is calling on the government to start investing in people, rather than clinging to spending projections put together prior to the massive economic and health shocks of COVID-19.
“When people are hurting, they need a government that is willing to step up, to invest in what they need,” said Meili. “But our government has done exactly the opposite. They have failed to provide meaningful support for the most vulnerable, including refusing to provide even modest support to food banks to ensure no one in our province goes hungry during this crisis.
“We’re calling on this government to re-examine their priorities. Now is not the time to cling to outdated numbers that no longer reflect our reality.”
Meili noted that, excluding tax deferrals, the government has committed a total of an additional $73 million in response to the crisis, or $61 per person, significantly lagging what is offered by other provinces. British Columbia has committed to spending an additional $2.8 billion, or $548 per person; Alberta $2.1 billion, or $481 per person; while Ontario has committed $7 billion, or $476 per person.
“Failing to act now will mean more people will lose their homes, more people will lose their jobs, more small businesses whose doors are closed now will never re-open. For the long-term economic and social wellbeing of Saskatchewan, the time to invest in people is now.”
Meili called on the government to look to the example of other provinces and increase support for individuals, families, businesses, municipalities, First Nations and Métis communities, long-term care, and vulnerable populations to weather this difficult time and limit future damage.