Sask. NDP sends counter proposal to government for limited reopening of the legislature

The provincial NDP says the government’s offer to hold budgetary scrutiny in a limited setting at the Saskatchewan legislature during COVID-19 is not enough.

On Thursday afternoon, Premier Scott Moe said their offer to the NDP was “the most comprehensive opportunity for budgetary legislative scrutiny, of any option that has been put forward in this nation by any province or territory, since the emergency measures have come into effect.”

Ryan Meili, leader of the Saskatchewan NDP, described the government’s offer as a “little crack” and “almost laughable” when Government House Leader Jeremy Harrison proposed opening on June 15 for an eight-day session and five question periods. Meili however wants to know why the government feels their offer is enough.

“We need to have at least 14 days of session and that there is a question period in every one of those days. We don’t have just half opening, but we have the full opportunity to pose the key and important questions,” she stated.

Meili said it cuts the number of hours for estimates nearly in half and is less than what the province deserves for accountability.

NDP House Leader Cathy Sproule sent a counter proposal letter to Harrison on Friday morning in response to his letter from Thursday. While the official opposition are in agreement with a start date of June 15, they proposed different terms in their response to the government.

It includes 14 days of session with question periods for each of those days and budget estimates at a total of 60 hours.

The proposed terms from the NDP’s response sent by Cathy Sproule to Government House Leader Jeremy Harrison on Friday, May 22. (Image: Saskatchewan NDP)

Meili believes it’s a very reasonable compromise.

“The point of this is not what they are able to get away with, but whether they are going to do what’s right,” added Meili. “We would not have any of this discussion if it was up to the Sask. Party. They would just be keeping things closed.”

He mentioned that when the legislative assembly adjourned on March 17, a motion was passed committing the government to 28 sitting days, which was what the NDP called for last week.

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