Meili calls for Health Minister to do his job or be removed

SASKATOON - As the fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic continues to fill hospitals and claim lives, Saskatchewan NDP Leader Ryan Meili called on the Premier to either order his Health Minister to listen to the experts and implement urgent measures to protect Saskatchewan people, or remove him from his position.

“Earlier this week the Health Minister made it very clear that he does not think it is his job to fight COVID-19 or protect Saskatchewan families,” said Meili. “It’s time for the Premier to step up to the plate. The Premier was wrong to prematurely declare victory at the beginning of the summer and ignore the risks of the Delta variant. If his Health Minister is not willing to take steps to save lives, he must be removed as minister and replaced with someone who will.”

Meili noted that the most recent SHA Physician Town Hall lays out a grim picture of the fourth wave in Saskatchewan, as well as revealing the frustrations of health leadership whose calls on this government to take action to prevent the fourth wave have been ignored:

  • Case counts have quadrupled in the last month, with a “sharp increase” among 18-29 year olds
  • The government’s goal of treating COVID-19 as an “endemic vaccine preventable disease is NOT feasible with approx. 500,000 not yet vaccinated”
  • Saskatchewan has the second highest new case rate among the provinces, trailing only Alberta
  • A 60% increase in the 7-day hospitalization rate in the last two weeks 

New Democrats are calling for urgent measures to fight COVID-19 and prevent potential lockdowns, including:

  • Enforceable public health orders mandating testing, tracing and self-isolation for positive COVID-19 cases
  • Follow the lead of other provinces and develop a viable proof-of-vaccination record
  • Vaccine mandates for large event like Rider games
  • A plan for full vaccination of school staff and workers in our healthcare system
  • Re-introduce appropriate indoor mask mandates

“The Premier and the Health Minister have taken the summer off the fight against COVID-19. Our frontline health care workers have not. And the pandemic is still here,” said Meili. “Fighting the fourth wave is too important to be left to the Sask. Party’s political games. Saskatchewan families, workers and businesses deserve better.”

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