NDP Leader Ryan Meili updated the public about negotiations to recall the Legislature today, responding to the Sask. Party government’s proposed terms for a limited reopening of the Legislature. The Sask. Party has proposed to limit the sitting to five Question Periods and eight sitting days in total with only 40 hours for debate. 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. Meili rejected Moe’s assertion yesterday that this proposal represents the greatest amount of scrutiny for a budget in Canada during COVID and pushed for an explanation for the government’s move. “Scott Moe was only willing to discuss opening the legislature after repeated pressure from the opposition, the media and the public. Now he’s put forward an extremely limited proposal that gives the illusion of scrutiny but not enough time to do the work.” Meili stated that the only leverage that the Opposition has is the repeated meetings with the media. “While we were happy to see the government finally concede the need to safely reopen the Legislature and present a budget, we’re disappointed that they would try to cut corners and reduce public scrutiny of their decisions in this way,” said NDP Leader Ryan Meili.
NDP House Leader Cathy Sproule delivered a letter to the government house leader this morning, proposing a revised schedule of 14 sitting days with 14 Question Periods, along with an adequate number of hours for debate on the budget. The Opposition has repeatedly called for the government to restore democratic oversight of government decision-making. In making the announcement that an option had been forwarded, the Premier made the comment that if the NDP were truly interested in reconvening the Legislature, then they would accept the proposed option. This question being floated by the public now is: is this proposal a “political popularity” motivated decision or a bona fide belief on the part of the Sask. Party that 8 sitting days and 5 question periods is adequate for a budget? In any case, pressure from NDP leader Meili is not letting up, and Sask. Party leadership is now heading down a negotiation in the hopes the leaders can come to an agreement about reconvening the Legislature.