Sask. Party government must be accountable for COVID-19 failures

REGINA - NDP Health Critic Vicki Mowat called on the Sask. Party government to do the right thing and take responsibility for its failed COVID-19 strategy instead of its continued approach that seeks to minimize and deflect the real harm being done to Saskatchewan families and businesses.

This pattern was continued yesterday when Minister of Health Paul Merriman was asked if it was a mistake to relax restrictions just before Easter. He responded:

We made that decision with what we had at that moment and we were confident with the compliance in that. The variant throws everybody in the country and around the world a bit of a curveball. It does change things up.”

“The Health Minister is rewriting history. The fact is that the SHA warned against loosening public health measures, with the variants being a major concern. This was not new news,” said Mowat. “The government’s mixed messages and half-measures have failed to prevent the severe second and now third waves of COVID-19 in Saskatchewan - and Saskatchewan families are paying the price.” 

Mowat noted that Saskatchewan New Democrats have called for several measures ignored by the Sask. Party government in their COVID-19 strategy and in Budget 2021, including:

  • A three-week circuit breaker in November to fight the second wave.
  • Raising the alarm about variants. In February the Opposition raised the alarm about variants and called for a clear plan for a 3rd wave, including wide-spread rapid testing in schools, long-term care facilities, and high-risk communities and workplaces. 
  • Recalling the Human Services Committee before session to provide legislative oversight of the pandemic response and vaccine roll-out.
  • Urgent action to address the understaffing in our heath care system that has led to COVID testing delays, burnout, and unacceptable conditions in long-term care which has seen dozens of outbreaks.

"The Premier and the Health Minister knew what the modelling looked like when they made the cynical decision to reduce restrictions on March 9, and they knew the variants were on the rise,” said Mowat. “What we are seeing today is a direct result of the failure of this government to learn lessons - because they won’t admit to their mistakes in the first place.”

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