NDP Leader Ryan Meili raised serious questions Friday about the Sask. Party’s plan to open the economy, and called on the government to restore democratic oversight by reconvening the Legislature in some form, to ensure the best possible management of the pandemic.
“It is one thing to release a plan on opening businesses, but the people who operate and work at those businesses need a plan that works for them,” said Meili. “Those workers are also parents, but the government’s plan says nothing about how we’ll manage child care through a reopening. The government’s failure to announce a plan to support parents and small businesses as workplaces begin to open again is exactly why we need time and space to ask the government these questions.”
Meili repeated his call for the Legislature to resume meeting while respecting physical distancing, and released his top four questions for the Premier:
- Healthcare readiness: How ready is our healthcare system for a possible surge? Do we have sufficient ventilators, intensive care units and protective equipment, particularly as some businesses will need access to protective equipment? What is the government’s plan for expanded testing, aggressive contact tracing and the capacity to isolate positive cases?
- Child care: How can people who have kids home from school or who can’t access child care be expected to return to work? Will this put more pressure to send children to grandparents for care, for parents who have that option, exposing seniors to higher risk?
- Business supports: Many businesses are expecting to see decreased sales and increased costs as they reopen. How does early opening impact eligibility for federal programs? How will Saskatchewan businesses be supported to succeed in this time?
- Guidelines for family visits: The Premier told CBC Morning Edition today that people can immediately start visiting friends and family. The province’s plan offers no clear guidelines for how to do this safely, including how it applies to seniors. Can the province provide clear direction to people on how they are expected to maintain physical distancing?
“We have good reason to be optimistic, given how well Saskatchewan people have managed the restrictions that were asked of them,” Meili said. “But the pandemic is not over. The questions we’re asking about the province’s plan need serious answers if we’re to avoid serious problems in our handling of this pandemic. It is time for the Premier to face the legislature and start answering these questions.”