An NDP leadership hopeful said he wants to create a healthier province by addressing social issues.
Ryan Meili, Saskatoon-Meewasin MLA and Saskatchewan NDP leadership candidate, was in North Battleford today for Winter Fest. Though he has big plans for the NDP to dethrone the SaskParty in the province, he has to win the leadership race first, something Meili said he is more than qualified to do.
“I’ve got a vision that people are going to be excited about,” Meili said. “That is something we really need as a party. Not just something that is a criticism of the SaskParty, but a set of ideas that really sets us apart and shows we have a credible plan that’s better than what we have seen the last few years.”
Meili is a former family doctor and has worked all over the province. He said he wants to tackle Saskatchewan’s health problems by addressing social issues including education poverty, and unemployment.
According to Meili, the factors that contribute to poor health in the province are directly related to crime, and must be dealt with at their roots.
“The more unequal your society, the more that people live in poverty, the worse the social challenges are, the more likely we are going to have illness, crime and other negative outcomes," Meili said. "We need to be investing more and more into keeping people out of trouble in the first place.”
For Meili, reconnecting with rural Saskatchewan and real reconciliation are also priorities. Meili said he wants to close some of the gaps that exist between First Nations, Métis, and the rest of the province in terms of health and education.
Dethroning the SaskParty doesn’t seem too daunting to Meili, as he thinks the party may have already made one too many mistakes.
“They’ve been making a lot of mistakes and the most recent budget was a big one," he said. "They deeply cut health, education and other programs that people deeply need in a way that actually hurts our economy.”
Ultimately, Meili said he wants a democracy that represents the needs of the people of Saskatchewan.
“That is one of the reasons I have committed to outlawing corporate and union donations and have taken the stance of not accepting those in this leadership race," he said.
The Saskatchewan NDP will choose their new leader March 3.
On Twitter @realgreghiggins
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