Saskatchewan

NDP ask premier to reconvene legislature to debate plan to lift COVID-19 restrictions

Opposition Leader Ryan Meili is calling on Premier Scott Moe to reconvene the legislature for an emergency debate on the government’s plans to lift health restrictions, including vaccine passports.

Moe is spreading disinformation about the reality of what the province is facing: Meili

Opposition NDP Leader Ryan Meili wants Premier Scott Moe to debate lifting health measures. (CBC)

Opposition Leader Ryan Meili is calling on Premier Scott Moe to reconvene the legislature for an emergency debate on the government's plans to lift health restrictions, including vaccine passports.

"Bring us back so that in this time, this time where we are facing darkness, that we can shine some light on the reality of what's happening in Saskatchewan," Meili said.

"Get to the bottom of this situation and see some accountability of a government that was elected to serve us all."

Meili was responding to the government's recent decision to hold only weekly COVID-19 updates and Moe saying health measures will soon be lifted, including vaccine passports.

"Scott Moe is no leader," Meili said. "He's a follower. He is taking his cues from the Unified Grass Roots, from the extreme wings of his own party. 

"He's taking his cues from Donald Trump and the Republican style of politics of lying and then doubling down on those lies of hiding the truth from Saskatchewan people."

Meili says Moe has deliberately spread disinformation about the reality of what the province is facing, and is trying to hide COVID-19 information from Saskatchewan people. 

Speaking during the Council of the Federation winter meeting on Friday afternoon, Moe said people are tired of restrictions.

"They're growing weary of, you know, managing their way through COVID in their personal life and in their professional life," Moe said. "And they're growing weary, quite frankly at times, as well, some of a number of the public health measures that have been in place for a period of time."

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe says health restrictions will be lifted soon. (Michael Bell/The Canadian Press)

Moe says the pandemic has changed and there are tools such as vaccines and rapid tests to help mitigate risks.

Meili says everyone is tired of the pandemic.

"It's 25 below," he said. "[We're] pretty sick of winter at this point, too. But that doesn't mean I think we should stop recording daily temperatures or that we should swap out our winter boots and start putting on sandals.

Meili says we are in the midst of a record number of hospitalizations, a higher number of children being infected and long-term care outbreaks.

"And having passed the sad milestone of 1,000 official deaths from COVID 19 here in Saskatchewan, over 1,000 families mourning the loss of a loved one. We all want this to be over," Meili said. "But pretending it's over won't get us there."

Moe says having rapid tests is an effective tool to identify COVID-19 cases early and isolate those cases sooner.

"Our collective goal is to reduce the strain on our health-care system, which has really highlighted the challenges that we have in our provincially delivered health-care systems across Canada over the course of this COVID pandemic," the premier said, adding those health-care challenges were in the system before the pandemic.

Moe says the federal government needs to step up with more health-care funding for the provinces.

"One of the questions we talked about at this meeting and previous meetings is, 'What does an increase in the Canada health transfer actually mean to Canadians?'" Moe said. "And we're really at a fork in the road as we find our way out of COVID with respect to, you know, is there going to be an increase coming from the federal government? I would put forward there's an opportunity for them to really participate in this."

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