COVID-19 remains focus during question period Wednesday

The Saskatchewan NDP returned to the topic of COVID-19 during question period at the legislature on Wednesday afternoon.

Party leader Ryan Meili asked the Sask. Party government when they first saw the modelling that showed a spike in cases at the tail end of the year and into 2021.

“Why did [Premier Scott Moe] wait until after the election to share that information which could have changed the situation we find ourselves in today,” stated Meili in the legislature.

Health Minister Paul Merriman responded by saying they are continuously adjusting modelling numbers based on what’s happening in other provinces and countries to meet the needs of Saskatchewan.

NDP Finance Critic Trent Wotherspoon questioned the government’s use of federal funding for COVID-19 measures during the pandemic.

He asked why the government has used hundreds of millions of federal dollars not for new supports during the pandemic, but to backfill supports offered in the budget.

Finance Minister Donna Harpauer said this isn’t the case.

“We always enjoy the interpretations of the members opposite on words that are said because usually it’s not what is said at all,” replied Harpauer. “We have received considerable amount of support dollars from the federal government, which has helped pay for some of the equipment and PPE within health care.”

She added that the money has also supported the extra funds made available for school divisions and enhancements for vulnerable residents.

One question outside of the pandemic came from SaskPower Critic Aleana Young who criticized a move to award the contract for the new Moose Jaw power plant to an out-of-province company.

She said the government chose a Kansas-City-based company as the engineering, procurement and contractor for the construction project.

“We’ve heard both experts and the government say that interprovincial travel is risky and yet the Sask. Party is ready to endanger public health by bringing in businesses and workers from outside of Saskatchewan,” she announced. “Is bringing in people from Alberta, Manitoba and who knows where else during a pandemic really the best we can do?”

Crown Investments Minister Don Morgan replied saying there were no Saskatchewan companies that placed bids for the Moose Jaw power plant contract.

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