Sask. NDP says government blocked SGI from implementing their own mask mandate

·2 min read
Saskatchewan NDP Leader Ryan Meili said the government should have allowed SGI to implement their own mask mandate. (Bryan Eneas/CBC - image credit)
Saskatchewan NDP Leader Ryan Meili said the government should have allowed SGI to implement their own mask mandate. (Bryan Eneas/CBC - image credit)

The provincial NDP is accusing the Saskatchewan Party of impeding a Crown corporation from implementing its own mask mandate in August.

The NDP said SGI attempted to put these measures in but were stopped by the Crown Investment Corporation (CIC). CIC is a holding company that manages the Crowns in Saskatchewan.

According to emails obtained by the Opposition, SGI sent a proposed communication to two employees at CIC about reinstating a temporary mask mandate effective Aug. 30.

The eventual response reads, in part: "It's been given to us pretty clear ... There is to be no re-implementation of any restrictions or mandates (masking, vaccination, directional signage, etc.). So please do not send out your letter."

The questions caused a lively debate in the Legislature Tuesday between NDP leader Ryan Meili and health minister Paul Merriman.

"A health minister, a premier trying to re-write history from the public health disaster that their actions created," Meili said in the Legislature.

"Another email sent to senior officials in the CIC said, and I quote, 'The Premier has been very clear. There's no intent to reintroduce masking, mandate vaccines, or implement restrictions at this time in the broader public sector.'"

Meili questioned why the government impeded this implementation, to which the health minister responded that people have always been allowed to wear masks if they want to, even without a mandate.

"If people wanted to [wear masks], ... they have to do a personal risk assessment of what is going on, what events they're going to, whether they're vaccinated," Merriman said.

"We always encouraged people to be able to wear masks if they wanted to. That includes the people within the public service, within all our Crowns."

Scott Moe told reporters after Question Period that CIC was within their right, and said he wasn't aware of this exchange until today.

"The decisions that have been made throughout the pandemic have been made with the information that's available at that point in time," he said.

"Ultimately, [in] the middle of September, the masking mandate did come."

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