Ryan Meili's responsibilities to include new poverty portfolio

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Ryan Meili's responsibilities to include new poverty portfolio

The NDP has revealed its plans for newly-elected MLA Ryan Meili, whose responsibilities will include a new shadow cabinet portfolio for poverty in Saskatchewan.

NDP interim leader Trent Wotherspoon announced the changes Monday, the first day of the spring sitting of the Saskatchewan Legislature.

Meili will be the critic for advanced education, housing, poverty, SaskEnergy and francophone affairs, as well as being deputy chair of the Crown and central agencies committee.

The Saskatoon physician defeated Saskatchewan Party candidate Brent Penner to win the Saskatoon Meewasin byelection last Thursday.

"This portfolio draws on his work and his commitment and his service to build a healthy society, and certainly strengthens our team," said Wotherspoon.  

There is currently no specific ministry for poverty in the Saskatchewan government. Wotherspoon said it was needed to address "disgraceful levels of child poverty" in the province.

2 new portfolios

The NDP also created a new portfolio for ethics and democracy, which has been allocated to Saskatoon Centre MLA David Forbes.

Wotherspoon said the portfolio covers "the inappropriate premier's top-up; getting big money out of Saskatchewan politics; making sure that our democracy is working for us today and for tomorrow."

Premier Brad Wall announced Monday he would no longer accept a $37,000 stipend from the Saskatchewan Party for duties he performs as their leader.

Wotherspoon also announced Saskatoon Nutana MLA Cathy Sproule had been given the formal responsibility of dealing with the government'sGTH land dealcontroversy.

He said the portfolio appointments took into account the specific interests and passions of individual MLAs.

Meili was sworn in before the spring sitting got underway Monday afternoon.

Wall said on the night of the byelection that Meili would likely be the next leader of the Saskatchewan NDP, but the party said that decision would not be made until next year.