Sask. NDP calls for legislative oversight to ensure accountability during COVID-19 pandemic

Oversight and accountability is what Sask. NDP leader Ryan Meili wants to see when the provincial government is responding to COVID-19.

On Friday, Meili shared that he wrote a letter to Premier Scott Moe making this request, saying “every plan can be improved with another set of eyes.”

Meili has been urging Premier Moe to consider creating a concentrated, collaborative effort that should feature the official opposition and key leaders from sectors and municipalities to make sure the pandemic response is as successful as possible.

He feels this should include municipal leaders, First Nations and Métis leaders, along with leaders in business, health, labour, health care, education, social services and justice.

Meili said the more people that better understand their communities and sectors, the better the plan will be.

“We were speaking with leaders who feel they are not being brought into the conversation in a way that they should be,” shared Meili. “We are missing key voices at the table to have the best response.”

The NDP made an initial request for this last week, however the premier rejected the notion which Meili called “disappointing.”

In the letter to the premier, he stated that this is an approach being recommended by the World Health Organization from their strategy report on April 14. The report references a “cross-partisan, multi-sector response to the pandemic.”

Meili is reluctant to be too prescriptive on what he’d like to see, but he said there’s a role to be played by the house leadership, along with the premier and himself, to discuss the best plan.

“It could look a lot of different ways. It could look like a special committee that has folks coming in virtually or in real life while maintaining physical distancing. It could look like some element of the assembly.”

This comes after Finance Minister Donna Harpauer said the deficit the province will suffer from COVID-19 is not a structural deficit, but rather a “pandemic deficit.”

Meili thinks the government should spend less time trying to avoid potential blame and more time trying to figure out the steps to reach the best outcome.

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