Saskatchewan New Democrat Leader Ryan Meili was in La Ronge today to announce his party’s commitment to immediately invest in healthy and safe northern communities.
“Life was getting harder for Northern families before the pandemic and COVID-19 has made things even harder,” said Meili. “We’re committed to making the investments needed to make life better for all northern families. All Scott Moe has to offer Northern communities is more of the same - which has been nothing at all.”
Meili noted that the Saskatchewan NDP platform includes a $5 million commitment to a Suicide Prevention Strategy that supports young people struggling with mental health and addictions, an issue that has reached crisis proportions in the North, where suicide is the leading cause of death for people age 10 to 49. Indigenous girls in this province are 29 times more likely to die by suicide than non-Indigenous girls.
“Earlier this year when Doyle Vermette tried to pass a suicie prevention law, Scott Moe and the Sask. Party voted it down. This was a shameful betrayal of the North,“ said Meili. “We need to work with northern communities and invest in the supports they need because continuing with the Sask. Party’s approach is tragically dangerous”.
Meili pointed to other aspects of the New Democrats’ election platform, People First, that support northern families:
- Closing the gap in health, employment, justice and education between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people.
- Investing $10 million to act on the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
- Hiring doctors, nurses and continuing care assistants for our under-resourced northern health centres.
- Ensuring northern seniors and Elders can get the dignified care they deserve.
- Restoring funding to the Northern Teacher Education Program (NORTEP) and ensuring that First Nation schools receive equal funding.
- Reforming our child welfare system, and increasing community autonomy over child intervention on reserve.
- Taking a Sask-First approach to procurement, so that Northern workers are hired to build infrastructure projects in their own communities.
- Increasing SaskTel’s investment in high-speed and wireless infrastructure to endure rural communities have high-quality broadband and cellular service.
- Reintroducing an independent Ministry of Northern Affairs.