NDP leader calls for more leadership from Sask. government during COVID-19 pandemic

As COVID-19 numbers continue to climb across Canada, Saskatchewan NDP leader Ryan Meili believes more needs to be done by the government to help “flatten the curve”.

When discussing emergency orders, Meili understands why the Regina city council wants to implement more assertive regulations to their local state of emergency order.

This comes after the Sask. government clarified that provincial rules supersede any orders declared by a municipal government in the province.

Meili believes the government should be showing more leadership on that front.

“If they are stepping up and showing the best role modeling at the provincial level, then the cities won’t feel they need to step up differently and the government won’t have to step in and change those actions,” he told reporters during an online media conference on Monday.

Meili added that consistency is important, but he doesn’t feel there should be “turf wars” right now and rather the province should set the stage so there aren’t disagreements among jurisdictions.

Another group calling for stricter regulations in the province is the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN).

The FSIN believes closing provincial borders is one way the government can reduce the number of cases.

Meili said it’s something that has to be considered.

“As we see other provinces are having higher rates with the illness and transfer by travel, which is not only international travel but travel within the country, we have to look at that,” he shared.

Meili also discussed his concerns surrounding the amount of health care workers and equipment available in the province to battle the virus as the number of cases continues to rise.

He’s heard there are failures to order certain supplies such as ventilators, swabs and beds, presenting serious challenges around the province to respond to COVID-19 needs. He also said there should be more testing in Saskatchewan.

“The premier should really be advocating, alongside the other premiers to the federal government, to significantly step up our testing capacity through manufacturing, through whatever means possible,” explained Meili.

“It’s going to be a key element of going beyond the physical distancing measures.”

The ministry of health is set to update the province on COVID-19 numbers at 2:30 p.m. from the Legislative Building.

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