Statement from Official Opposition Leader Ryan Meili

Today I’m asking the New Democratic Party of Saskatchewan to hold a leadership race. When a new leader is selected, I will step aside to make room for that new voice. 

I am very grateful for the support, first and foremost of my family. Mahli, Abe and Gus have been beside me through the good times and the bad. I am thankful to the voters of Saskatoon Meewasin and to NDP members for their support.  And I’m encouraged to see so many, as recent polls are showing, who are seeing through the deception of the Sask. Party and turning to support our party, who are seeking a better vision for Saskatchewan’s future.

I got into politics for the same reason I got into medicine - to help people. I was elected as the MLA for Saskatoon Meewasin in 2017 and as leader of the NDP in 2018. I’m incredibly proud to be a Saskatchewan New Democrat and to serve alongside our team of dedicated MLAs.

At a time when this Sask. Party government has chosen to spread misinformation and support the voices of illegal blockades over Saskatchewan people’s interests, this team - our team - has stood up for what’s right. We’ve spoken up, calling for support for overcrowded classrooms, action on mental health, supports for Saskatchewan workers, investments in economic diversification and renewable power, and creating and keeping good jobs in Saskatchewan. We have and will put people first.

We have also spoken up, clearly and boldly, throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. We have stood up for public health, calling on this government to protect the health of Saskatchewan people. We have made the unpopular calls, demanding honesty and action from a government that is willing to put politics ahead of people’s lives. As a doctor, a political leader and a proud Saskatchewan resident, I have no regrets about being a voice for health in a period of devastating illness. My only regret is that we were unable to force this government to do more. There have been too many lives lost, so many patients unable to access surgeries and other essential care, at a time when so much of this suffering was predictable and preventable. 

These past two years have been hard on all of us, myself included, and have proven that we cannot take COVID lightly, and that predictions are precarious. However, I am hopeful that we are nearing the end of this pandemic, that the widespread availability of vaccines and therapeutics are allowing us to enter a new phase. And as someone who has been the voice of masks and mandates, of the things we all want to leave behind, I believe our province and our party need a new voice.  

I firmly believe that the Sask. Party has failed Saskatchewan people. I believe that New Democrats can, as they have throughout our province’s history, clean up the mess left by conservatives and build a better future for our province. I also believe that, to chart that new direction, we need a new voice. 

I look forward to a healthy leadership race and to supporting the new leader of the Saskatchewan New Democratic Party to become the next premier of Saskatchewan. 

Over the upcoming session, I will work alongside our team to continue to hold Scott Moe and the Sask. Party accountable for their failures and to set the stage for the change our province needs. Saskatchewan deserves a government that puts people first.

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