Sask. NDP calling for legislature to get back to work in some form

It’s time for the Saskatchewan legislature to get back to work in some form that respects the need for physical distancing, said the leader of the official opposition.

“We are now weeks into this, we're weeks without the legislature sitting and there is a role for opposition,” said Ryan Meili, the NDP’s leader. “We're not just decoration. It is important that the decisions being made by the government are evaluated and scrutinized.

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“That's due diligence, that's our job, what we've been elected to do on behalf of the people of Saskatchewan.”

The NDP leader said the opposition has lots of questions, particularly about the reopening plan, healthcare and childcare.

In Ottawa, the House of Commons is having an in-person sitting with a smaller complement of MPs meeting once a week, plus virtual sittings and virtual committee meetings.

The federal Conservatives called for three in-person sittings a week, but was overruled by a vote by the Liberals, Bloc Québécois, New Democrats and Greens.

The House of Commons has a minority government, while the Saskatchewan legislature has a strong Saskatchewan Party majority.

Meili said he’s open to any model that allows for the legislature to exercise its role in governance and would support any changes in the rules needed to make it happen.

“We would be happy to work with the government on a way to have an emergency sitting to get those regulations in place so that we can move forward – and yes, doing that with a skeleton crew that is representative of the current proportions makes a lot of sense.”

The NDP leader said he’d be happy to look at copying the model being used in Ottawa.

“We see that they are, at the very least, getting an opportunity for the different opposition parties to pose questions for the government to explain their approach and from what I've been able to witness they've really managed to improve the decorum of Parliament,” he said, adding now is not the time for the heckling seen in regular times.

“This is not about getting back to partisan jabs. It's about getting to accountability. The exact method, be it like the House of Commons or something else, I'm open to it.”

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