In response to the Premier’s announcement banning non-critical travel to northern Saskatchewan because of a local outbreak of COVID-19, NDP Leader Ryan Meili said it’s now urgent for the Premier to work more closely with northern leaders to ensure clear protocols and protections for stopping the spread of COVID-19, and step up and provide direct financial assistance for northern communities, as the Opposition has been calling for.
“We have repeatedly called on the province to do more to address the unique challenges that make northern communities particularly vulnerable to COVID-19,” said Meili. “Their failure to act sooner has cost us valuable time. With COVID-19 now spreading in northern communities, it’s essential the province stops reacting and starts acting to get ahead of this virus.”
This is the fifth time this month that the Saskatchewan NDP has called on the government to do more to address the unique challenges facing northern and First Nations communities in the province. Previous calls this month came on April 3, April 7, April 20 and April 23.
NDP MLA for Athabasca Buckley Belanger voiced his frustration at the provincial government’s failure to take the concerns of northerners seriously.
"Northern people have been asking the province to protect us for weeks to keep the virus out of the north,” said Belanger. “Now that it's here, they’re finally imposing elevated restrictions to keep it from spreading south. Where are the measures we need to keep our communities safe and our people healthy?"