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Meili slams Moe for failure to develop made-in-Sask climate change plan

Following the Federal Government’s announcement this morning that Saskatchewan residents would see a direct rebate of the money raised by their tax on pollution, Ryan Meili slammed Scott Moe’s Sask. Party government for surrendering the initiative to the federal government and leaving Saskatchewan without a plan designed by and for Saskatchewan people.

“Scott Moe has once again come up empty in providing Saskatchewan with sound economic and environmental leadership,” Meili said. “He’s spent the last year pointing fingers and railing against a flawed federal approach, but he’s shown no initiative and no leadership in putting forward a plan that works for Saskatchewan people.

“Our provincial government had the chance to design the program and allocate the revenue from it, but they squandered that chance and now we have neither.

Meili pointed to his Renew Saskatchewan plan as one example of how Saskatchewan could show leadership in developing new economic opportunities for Saskatchewan people while at the same time meeting our moral obligation to address the climate crisis. “The climate crisis is real and government should be taking bold action to remove the barriers that keep people from acting on it. Moe’s failure to be proactive on this hurts us economically today and leaves us more vulnerable to changes tomorrow.”

NDP calls for proper funding for Sask. libraries, consultation for future success

In recognition of Saskatchewan Library Week, the Saskatchewan NDP joins the public in celebrating all that libraries do for Saskatchewan people. This year’s Saskatchewan Library Week theme is “Libraries Transform,” which focuses on how libraries can serve communities in many different ways and focus on local needs. 

“As our communities change and grow, so do our libraries. Libraries often fill the gaps and offer valuable services to all community members,” said NDP Education Critic Carla Beck. “This is why we need a government that respects the role and voice of our libraries, so they can continue to serve communities across the province. Library staff and boards know what is needed to accomplish future library growth—they, and the communities they serve, must be a fully involved in any future planning.”

When the Sask. Party government announced they would cut $4.8 million from libraries’ funding in their 2017-18 budget, there was a huge outcry across the province. Saskatchewan residents showed just how much they value their libraries. The government was forced to roll back that devastating cut but has since failed to properly outline any vision for libraries, nor have they stated what their goals are, or who they plan to consult on future changes. 

“Libraries and their patrons deserve to know what these valuable community centres will look like in ten years’ time, but the Sask. Party is not providing any information,” said Beck. “We need better-funded libraries and transparency from our government on this important file.”

Meili proposes ‘Renew Saskatchewan’ plan to support clean energy transition

Meili proposes ‘Renew Saskatchewan’ plan to support clean energy transition

For immediate release

October 13, 2018 

SASKATOON—In his keynote address to NDP convention delegates this morning in Saskatoon, NDP Leader Ryan Meili presented his Renew Saskatchewan plan for removing the barriers that are keeping Saskatchewan families, farms, and businesses from reducing energy usage and shifting to lower-cost, renewable options.

“Climate change demands the best of us, but Saskatchewan has fallen behind. This plan is designed to jump-start the clean energy transition we know we need, meeting the urgency of climate change with the opportunity of low-cost clean energy.”

Similar to past Saskatchewan government innovations like the Rural Electrification Program or the Family Farm Improvement Program, the Renew Saskatchewan plan outlined by Meili would provide assessments and financing for clean energy installations or retrofits for homes, farms, businesses, industry, municipalities and reserves. After an initial assessment to determine the lowest-cost and highest-return option for a given property or organization, some of all of the cost of the installation would be covered by the fund, and would be paid back over time from the customer’s power or energy bills based on the value of the power generated or fossil fuel energy saved by the installation.

“Investment in renewable energy or retrofits of inefficient buildings pay for themselves in the money saved on heat or power,” Meili said. “People want to make the shift to clean energy, but the up-front cost stops them, even though it would save a lot of money over the long term. This plan would remove the barriers that currently prevent people taking action on climate change.”

Glenn Wright, an agricultural producer and engineer with almost 20 years of experience in the resource industry, called the plan an important and urgently needed step forward into the clean energy future Saskatchewan deserves and needs.

“We have the best solar resource in Canada and a lot of room for improvement in energy efficiency” Wright said.  “The NDP plan to focus on clean energy and energy efficiency is exactly what we need to address climate change and grow our economy.”

Renew Saskatchewan policy backgrounder

Meili shuffles critic portfolios following NDP by-election win

Fresh off a convincing win in the recent Regina Northeast by-election, NDP Leader Ryan Meili today announced a shuffle of critic responsibilities for his opposition caucus that positions them as Saskatchewan’s government-in-waiting ahead of the 2020 election.

“This team represents real leadership for Saskatchewan, both in the Legislature and in communities throughout the province,” said NDP Leader Ryan Meili. “Together, we will continue to provide a strong opposition that will hold the Sask. Party to account for their harmful decisions while also championing ideas that will help build a better future for Saskatchewan.”

Yens Pedersen, the newest addition to the Opposition Caucus, will become the Critic for Agriculture, Environment, and the Saskatchewan Crop Insurance Corporation.

“We’re extremely happy and fortunate to add such a hard working and dedicated MLA like Yens,” Meili said. “With his rural roots and his record of strong community service, we know he will fit well in his critic areas.”

Danielle Chartier will take on the new role of Mental Health and Addictions Critic to such a prominent and troubling issue in Saskatchewan. Vicki Mowat takes over as Health Critic.

Nicole Rancourt, a social worker by profession, will take over as Social Services Critic. Trent Wotherspoon will serve as the new Finance Critic.

Standing up for teachers and students while the Sask. Party fails to properly fund education remains a priority for Carla Beck, Critic for Education and now also for Advanced Education. Meanwhile Cathy Sproule will continue to push for answers to the many remaining questions around the Sask. Party’s mismanagement of the Global Transportation Hub and Regina Bypass.

“With a strong and united team of MLAs, we are committed to continuing to earn the trust of Saskatchewan people as we move towards forming government in 2020,” Meili said. “That work starts with standing up to the bad choices of the Sask. Party while clearly articulating our own vision, highlighting our new ideas and sharing our plans to deliver on them.”

Job losses, unemployment on the rise in Saskatchewan

According to the July labour report from Statistics Canada, there are 12,300 fewer Saskatchewan jobs – 7,000 of which are full-time – compared to last month and there are 3,000 fewer jobs compared to this time last year. These jobs losses helped raise the province’s unemployment rate to 7.1 per cent, which is the highest rate in Canada outside the Maritimes and well above the national average.

“These numbers certainly are concerning for Saskatchewan people especially when it comes shortly after the announcement of major job losses at Cameco and Nutrien,” said NDP Jobs Critic Vicki Mowat. “Sask. Party decisions such as cutting $3 million out of job training and workforce development programs have impacts, and that is what we are seeing in this month’s report.”

Compared to last year, the agriculture sector is down 2,100 jobs, the manufacturing sector is down 700 jobs and the trade sector is down 1,400 jobs. 900 jobs were lost in the Forestry, fishing, mining and oil & gas sectors. The First Nations unemployment rate jumped to an abysmal 21.2 per cent.

“These numbers should be a wakeup call to the Sask. Party,” Mowat said. “Whether it’s mining jobs in the North or jobs in agriculture in rural Saskatchewan, we need people working to help build a stronger economy. The Sask. Party have been distracted by their mismanaged projects like the Regina Bypass and the GTH land scandal. Meanwhile the unemployment rate is going up and people are struggling to find jobs.”

David Forbes announces plans to retire as an MLA at next provincial election

For Immediate Release August 10, 2018

Former cabinet minister and long-time NDP MLA David Forbes is announcing that he plans to retire at the next provincial election.

After teaching for 18 years, Forbes was elected as MLA for Saskatoon Idylwyld in 2001. He served Premier Lorne Calvert as Minister of Environment where he released the Caring for Natural Environments: A Biodiversity Action Plan for Saskatchewan’s Future 2004-2009, as well as The Great Sand Hills (GSH) Land Use Strategy which led to the GSH protected area rising from 94.5 to 362.6 square kilometres.

Forbes also served as the Minister of Labour. He helped implement initiatives to fight bullying in the workplace, to modernize labour standards in Northern Saskatchewan and he was responsible for creating Family Day, Saskatchewan’s newest statutory holiday.

While in Opposition, Forbes was elected Caucus Chair and was the Critic for many areas including Social Services, Housing, Diversity, Equality and Human Rights, Labour, and Ethics and Democracy.

Aside from being a champion for the rights of the LGBTQ community, he also introduced and helped implement much of Jimmy’s Law, which aimed to protect late-night retail workers. He has also introduced several bills in an effort to get big money out of Saskatchewan politics.

Forbes will continue to serve in his caucus roles and as MLA for Saskatoon Centre until the next election. At which time, he will spend more time with his wife, three children and four grandchildren.

“It has been an honour and a privilege to serve the people of Saskatoon Centre.  After talking with my family, I’ve decided that it’s time to step away and spend more time with them upon completion of this term,” Forbes said. “It’s been rewarding to work with so many terrific people over the years and to be able to help improve the lives of Saskatchewan families, workers and those most vulnerable in our communities.”

NDP Leader Ryan Meili reflected “David Forbes is a trusted colleague and friend and a deeply committed MLA who - in government and in opposition - always stands up for those who need it most.  I’m very fortunate to work alongside him and continue learning from his example.”

NDP calls on Don Morgan to fix Saskatoon Legal Aid or Resign

In light of comments made July 19 by a provincial court judge about the systemic shortage of Legal Aid lawyers in the Saskatoon Legal Aid office, NDP Justice Critic Nicole Sarauer is calling on Justice Minister Don Morgan to provide the resources needed to fix the problem, or resign.

“These comments from the bench speak to the seriousness of the resourcing problems at the Saskatoon Legal Aid office,” said Sarauer. “The Sask. Party government’s Minister of Justice is responsible for making sure Legal Aid has the resources it needs to advocate for vulnerable people. It’s clear from these comments that he is failing.”

Last week, Legal Aid’s Saskatoon office issued layoff notices to six employees and decided to allow three vacant lawyer positions to go unfilled.

“At the very least, Don Morgan needs to make sure that Legal Aid has the resources to refill those positions and fill the vacancies they already have. If Don Morgan can’t or won’t commit to that, he needs to resign.”

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NDP calls for Rental Housing Supplement cut to be scrapped

With the cancellation of the Saskatchewan Rental Housing Supplement looming, the NDP is calling on the Sask. Party to reverse its heartless cut of the program that has helped so many vulnerable people throughout the province.

“Low income families and people with disabilities depend greatly on this supplement. They can’t afford to have this option taken off the table,” said NDP Leader Ryan Meili. “This is the kind of short-term thinking that hurts people today and costs us all more in the long run.”

The NDP, along with anti-poverty groups throughout the province, have voiced their concerns with the cut to the housing supplement. If the cut goes forward on July 1st as planned, new applicants will have to wait at least two years before the Canada Housing Benefit is enacted by the federal government.

“For me, this program is the difference between being housed and being homeless,” said Crystal Linka, a single mother who receives the Rental Housing Supplement while she cares for her three children, one of whom has a disability and another is currently undergoing cancer treatment.   

“Some people are one paycheck away from being homeless and now the government is cutting this program for new applicants,” said Roberta Fehr, who also receives the supplement. “The government has not increased the affordable housing market in order for low income people to have appropriate housing for their needs.”

“This cut to the housing supplement will only continue to hurt the province’s most vulnerable and those who are already struggling to find a stable living arrangement,” said NDP Social Services Critic Trent Wotherspoon. “This callous plan needs to be scrapped before it causes much devastation and hurt to many Saskatchewan families.”

Want to help Ryan Meili and the Saskatchewan NDP push back? Volunteer here.

NDP calls for action on child poverty in northern Saskatchewan

June 18, 2018

A recent report by an anti-poverty advocacy group shows that northern Saskatchewan has the second highest child poverty rate in the country. 

“The Sask. Party has known for years that action is needed to address poverty, but they just won’t act,” said NDP Social Services Critic Trent Wotherspoon. “Instead of making the smart investments we need to reduce poverty, we’re seeing shortsighted cuts to supports for the vulnerable, like the Rental Housing Supplement, that are only going to make this unacceptable problem even worse.”

The report also reiterated calls made in recent reports from the Provincial Auditor and the Saskatchewan Children’s Advocate for better access to mental health supports in Northern communities.

“There is so much more that needs to be done to address poverty in Saskatchewan and this report makes it crystal clear that now is not the time to be cutting the Rental Housing Supplement – a needed support for so many in our province,” said Wotherspoon.

 

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