NDP leader Ryan Meili looks back on 2019; prepares for next year’s election

A couple more days remain before we say farewell to 2019 and welcome a new year and new decade.

Prior to the New Year’s celebrations, Saskatchewan NDP leader Ryan Meili joined us for a sit down interview to reflect on the year that was when it comes to politics in the province.

In 2019, the NDP challenged the Saskatchewan Party on a plethora of problems around the province while in session — whether it involved long wait times in emergency rooms or changes to net metering that affected solar companies in Saskatchewan, just to name a couple.

However one issue Meili feels was not handled properly by the government this year involved the agriculture sector.

Raised on a farm southwest of Moose Jaw, Meili said the challenges are different in every part of the province, but he feels there are significant challenges when it comes to climate, access to markets and prices.

“For the most part, we haven’t seen the Sask. Party willing to engage on that,” he stated.

“With 73 per cent more people calling the farm stress line, and more farms and farm families really struggling at this time, people don’t need another stress line to call. They need a government that is willing to reduce the stress.”

Meili added that his party has advocated for relief on grain drying regarding costs from the carbon tax and changing the AgriStability level to 85 per cent to kick in when farmers actually need it.

With the provincial election expected in October 2020, Meili explained how his party will continue to speak to people around the province, hear about their concerns and defend them while pushing the government on these issues.

This will be Meili’s first election as leader of the party after he was named to the position in March 2018.

The Sask. Party has recorded dominant wins over their counterparts during the last couple elections; Meili however believes people have had enough with this government and are wanting to see change.

He said it comes down to three major areas if he was elected the next premier of Saskatchewan: health care, education and the economy.

“By focusing on those three core elements, I think we can really speak to what matters most in the everyday lives of Saskatchewan people, and make a significant difference in the quality of those lives and the future of our province.”

“It’s not about this election or the next budget. It’s about the next generation and how we build a Saskatchewan where our prosperity is widely shared, widely enjoyed and will last for the long term.”

Some of those goals would include more investments in education, making wise choices to build the economy and give workers decent wages, and create supports in health care while decreasing costs and challenges by addressing them upstream.

Meili mentioned that people are encouraged to reach out to their party with their challenges or concerns in the new year. He said they always want to hear what’s on people’s minds so they can represent residents everywhere in the province.

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