NDP leader Meili on balance between criticizing government and offering solutions – CBC.ca

Posted: December 31, 2019 at 10:47 am


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NDP Leader Ryan Meili says he is focused on holding the government to account while also offering alternatives for Saskatchewan voters.

Saskatchewan NDP leader Ryan Meili heads into 2020 with a fall election campaign in his sights. It will be his first foray as a candidate and as party leader.

The NDP spent a great deal of 2019 highlighting issues facing emergency rooms and classrooms, and concerns about the level of support for mental health and addictions support.

CBC's Adam Hunter sat down with Meili for a year-end Q and A.

What has been your biggest accomplishment as a party this year?

What we've been able to do is shine a light on some of the real challenges in health care and education in particular. The crisis in our classrooms as well as the hallway medicine that has become the norm under the Sask. Party.

We've got so many people coming forward telling us what's really going on and hearing back, as we're travelling the province, a pretty high level of frustration. This is the most important piece. We're also putting forth some solutions that people are seeing as credible, valuable and worth engaging.

What did you not get accomplished?

I sometimes refer to opposition as the complaint buffet because there are so many things in so many departments that are worth pointing out. It's a tough balance between picking some things to concentrate on as well as making sure you're not leaving anything uncovered.

We've announced our new Saskatchewan plan to move us to renewable energy and in a way that will lower people's bills and put lots of people to work. We've announced a cap on class sizes to get the crisis in our classrooms under control.

What's your criticism of the Premier and the government's handling of relations with Ottawa?

There are things we can do in this province to improve the economy that are actually in our power and that's what's been frustrating is to see more and the Sask. Party, really Premier Moe and the Sask. Party,pointing fingers elsewhere and trying to distract from their own record and missing opportunities to make smart choices here.

Frankly, it seems like they don't really have a lot of ideas about what to do there. And so they're pointing fingers elsewhere or putting out lofty goals but not really having clear, credible plans to actually get them.

The Premier's rationale iswe build the economy and you attract people and create wealth.What do you say to that?

There's also the people side of it and that's what they forget. We need to put people as our first priority. Put that as our main focus. When you invest in people, when everybody's got a chance to have a decent place to live, a decent standard of living, a chance to have their educational personal success. It actually makes you more resilient when times get tough so you're better able to weather tougher times and you're way more ready to take full advantage when things go well.

We've seen under the Sask.Party when things were going fine and prices were high, people were satisfied. The spending went up. As soon as the economy struggled at all, big cuts, a big panic, shutting down STC, cutting health care, cutting social services. They made all these steps backwards because they had no plan for what happens if things don't continue to click along as they'd been lucky enough to see in the previous years.

What can people expect from youand the NDP for the next few months?

I think people have seen a lot of what our approach will be that emphasis on putting people first. Pointing out obviously the troubles under theSask. Party, the lack of ideas and missed opportunities but really coming up with some I think exciting opportunities for us to go forward and renew Saskatchewan.

My focus is to make sure we have a Saskatchewan where everybody's got a chance to do as well as they possibly can and where that shows up in good quality of life for people who are living here.

*Questions and answers were edited for length and clarity

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NDP leader Meili on balance between criticizing government and offering solutions - CBC.ca

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December 31st, 2019 at 10:47 am

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