REGINA - In light of the provincial government effectively blocking the City of Saskatoon’s efforts to introduce bylaws to keep Saskatoon residents safe, Leader of the Official Opposition Ryan Meili and Opposition Municipal Affairs Critic Matt Love called on the Sask. Party government to allow municipalities wishing to implement recommendations from medical health officers the ability to do so.
“Municipalities should never have been put in the position where they need to implement their own public health measures. But given this government’s refusal to step up and implement recommendations from Dr. Shahab and other medical health officers, they have been given no choice,” said Love. “It’s telling that the only proactive measure this Sask. Party government has taken on COVID-19 is to block municipalities from passing medically-advised bylaws. These are jurisdictions who are listening to the science, listening to their regional health officers, and making proactive decisions for the health and safety of their residents.”
Saskatchewan leads the nation in death rates and has the lowest vaccination rates in the county. Despite the need to get the fourth wave under control, the Sask. Party has instead chosen to block its municipalities from enacting stricter measures based on recommendations from regional medical health officers. This is a pattern, with the province first doing so in 2020, when it rescinded stricter COVID-19 bylaws by the City of Regina and the Town of Gravelbourg. This directly contradicts all public statements both Premier Scott Moe and Health Minister Paul Merriman have made stating municipalities can enact stricter measures based on regional health recommendations.
“It’s absurd that this Sask. Party government would say one thing publicly, and then do the exact opposite behind closed doors. This proves without doubt that this is a government that is ignoring the science, ignoring its medical health officers, and playing politics with the health and safety of the people of Saskatchewan,” said Meili. “We’ve seen this play out before. Instead of learning from their mistakes and being proactive, it’s like they’re living out the plot to Groundhog Day. They need to do better.”
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