Steven Allen

retired educator, former president Saskatchewan Teachers Federation, Upstream board member, Wheatland Library Board member

I was a teacher for many years before I was elected president of the Saskatchewan Teachers Federation. I’ve seen the consequences of government cuts on quality education, classroom size, the stress that teachers are under, and the very real consequences for students. We can and must do better.

This is why I am very excited about Ryan Meili’s campaign for leader of Saskatchewan’s NDP. I’ve known Ryan for several years, and I know how central education is to his approach to politics. I’d like to tell you a little about that approach, and encourage you to get involved in Ryan’s campaign, because I believe that, like me, you will be deeply excited about what Ryan Meili could achieve for our education system as leader of Saskatchewan’s NDP and the next premier of our province.

More than any politician I have known, Ryan gets the importance of getting education right. He comes to politics through his work as a doctor at Saskatoon’s West Side Community Clinic. He saw firsthand that the causes of the illness his patients were experiencing were political, and that the solutions were political too. He has a vision of 'health in all policies' that puts the people of Saskatchewan as the beneficiaries. The integrity of his vision has been honed by his medical practice, the development of the Upstream Institute, and serving on the board for Canadian Doctors for Medicare.

In his book A Healthy Society, Ryan explains his approach in everyday language that simply makes sense, whatever your political stripe. He argues that the goal of politics should be to improve health outcomes for all people, and that this is best done through attention to the social determinants of health: education, income, and employment most important among them. By making sound social investments, we can improve outcomes and save money in the long term through decreased need for spending on healthcare, corrections and social services.

This is the vision and these are the values that underlie Ryan’s approach to education, from supporting early childhood education in childcare facilities to making post-secondary education more affordable. Please have a look Ryan’s education policy statement, which seeks to turn this vision into concrete steps towards the goal of making Saskatchewan “the best place to be a kid,” as Ryan puts it.

If you’re inspired by what Ryan proposes, I hope you will lend him your support in this leadership race

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