REGINA - Today, Official Opposition Leader Carla Beck and Health Critic Vicki Mowat stood with Sarah Mackenzie, who tragically lost her fourteen-year-old child to suicide. Together, they called on the Sask. Party government to listen to the concerns of parents and get to work on the issues that matter most, like the lack of mental health resources in our communities and schools.
“There are very real crises in this province - facing very real people - but instead of dealing with the crises in health care, in mental health and addictions, and the cost of living, we’ve been called back to the legislature for an emergency sitting to debate pronouns in schools,” said Beck. “Too many people in this province are falling through the gaps because the government doesn’t care about the issues that matter most. The supports aren’t there. These are the real emergencies we should be debating.”
Despite claims by the new Education Minister Jeremy Cockrill that schools have “ample supports for children” facing concerns around mental health, the Sask. Party government’s own numbers show those claims to be false.
Between 2021-22 to 2022-23, the number of counselors has only increased by 0.7 positions across the whole province. During that time, the number of psychologist positions actually decreased by 1.9 positions. And while the number of teachers in our classrooms have decreased by 66.1 positions, enrollment in the K-12 system has increased by 3840 students, meaning more work for teachers and less support for students.
Sarah’s child, Bee, always lit up a room and was the first person to try and make their friends laugh. Sarah’s child changed their name to Bee after coming out as non-binary in 2021. After years of struggling with their mental health, Bee tragically took their own life at 14, following devastating news that they had lost a fourth friend to the addictions and overdose crisis.
“What happened to my child and so many others should not be happening. They deserve better supports, resources, and care,” said Mackenzie. “This is not just a crisis - it’s an epidemic. There is a system failure and instead of talking about that, the government is trying to divide us with smokescreens to avoid taking accountability and action. We all deserve to have proper supports and funding to improve care for mental health and addictions. Because what we have now isn’t working and isn’t enough.”
The Official Opposition called on the government to stop playing politics and to focus on the issues that truly matter to the people of Saskatchewan.