Sask. NDP wants Moe to call emergency legislature sitting

·3 min read
Saskatchewan's Opposition Leader Ryan Meili at a news conference in Saskatoon on Friday. He asked Premier Scott Moe to resume the legislative assembly early for an emergency sitting. (CBC/Theresa Kliem - image credit)
Saskatchewan's Opposition Leader Ryan Meili at a news conference in Saskatoon on Friday. He asked Premier Scott Moe to resume the legislative assembly early for an emergency sitting. (CBC/Theresa Kliem - image credit)

Saskatchewan's Opposition Leader Ryan Meili wants Premier Scott Moe to bring back the legislative assembly early for an emergency sitting.

In a letter to the premier, Meili said an emergency sitting is necessary to address the fourth wave of COVID-19 in the province.

The assembly is not scheduled to resume for another eight weeks.

"Our health system is in crisis, and you need to act," wrote Meili.

Resuming the house now would allow the government to show transparency and accountability, said Meili.

According to the Saskatchewan NDP leader, an emergency sitting would further provide an opportunity to pass legislation "to ensure everyone in our health and education systems is fully vaccinated and implement proof of vaccination requirements in public places."

At a news conference on Friday, Meili accused the premier of having given up and taking the summer off after lifting all restrictions on July 11.

"Scott Moe has got a lot to answer for on why he's made the decisions he has," said Meili.

"We see people in line for hours and hours for testing."

Legislative assembly will reconvene on regular schedule: Moe

In an email response on Friday, Moe said the legislative assembly will reconvene at its regularly scheduled time in October.

"The Government of Saskatchewan will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation closely and respond accordingly in co-ordination with Dr. Shahab and our public health officials," said the statement.

"While the number of new cases reported today in Saskatchewan is concerning, just 55 of those new cases — or about 13 per cent — were among fully vaccinated people."

If everyone was fully vaccinated, the number of COVID-19 cases would not be putting pressure on Saskatchewan's health system, Moe said in the statement and on Twitter.

"The path forward is clear: get vaccinated."

Health-care workers

Saskatchewan doctors and medical health officers have been calling on the province for intervention to stop the spread of COVID-19 for the past few weeks.

"We hear from doctor after doctor after doctor about how our emergency rooms, our hospitals are overwhelmed," said Meili.

While Moe announced on Monday that some health-care workers will soon be required to provide proof of vaccination, he also said the province would not return to widespread restrictions because that would be "grossly unfair" to those who have become vaccinated.

Organizations, businesses, cities, universities and school divisions in the province have mandated their own COVID-19 policies.

For example, Métis Nation–Saskatchewan launched a vaccine incentive lottery for Métis citizens on Wednesday.

Masks will become mandatory at public and Catholic schools in Regina and Saskatoon starting Tuesday.

Indoor masking and vaccination incentive in Alberta

Starting Saturday, new COVID-19 measures will take effect in Alberta, including mandatory masking in all indoor public spaces.

Due to high COVID-19 numbers and the lowest vaccination rate in Canada, Alberta will also start a vaccination incentive, paying $100 to people who get a first or second shot.

"We've talked about vaccine lotteries and other incentive programs," said Meili.

"Do something to get people in the door, because where we are now is absolutely unacceptable."

Meili acknowledged the vaccine hesitancy of some people in the province and accused Moe of not trying to reach those residents.

"There's the hard line anti-vaxxers, anti-maskers … we may never change their minds," said Meili.

"But there's a lot of people who, given the right support, given the support to get the shot, they'd be ready and willing."

The Opposition leader said the province needs to get back to indoor masking and mandate vaccines "in the appropriate places," such as schools or at large events.

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