(December 15, 2017) Saskatoon, SK — Saskatchewan NDP leadership candidate Ryan Meili has released his plan for reconnecting with rural voters and accepted the endorsements of former leader of Canada’s NDP Thomas Mulcair and former Minister of Agriculture Mark Wartman.
"Ryan has the credibility, experience and expertise to be seen as a Premier in waiting,” Mulcair wrote in an endorsement posted to his Facebook page. “He would be a national player with an extraordinary ability to speak to the complex environmental, social and economic issues of our times.
"Saskatchewan deserves a leader with a clear vision that he will deliver on when he forms government. Ryan Meili is that leader."
Former Saskatchewan Minister of Agriculture Mark Wartman also endorsed Meili’s leadership bid, and praised the rural and agriculture plan released today. “Ryan’s policies address the key issues facing farming communities. His leadership would not only help the NDP to reconnect with rural Saskatchewan, it would guide us to real improvements throughout the province.”
Former agriculture critic Cathy Sproule spoke in support of the plan. “Ryan’s plan clearly demonstrates he is deeply committed to rural communities and wants to see strong futures for families in Saskatchewan’s heartland.”
Meili’s plan addresses rural life generally, and agriculture specifically, and includes commitments to:
- Re-establish an active rural issues caucus within the NDP, with representation from across the province.
- Return the power of school boards to set their own local mill rates and repeal Bill 63 to return autonomy to local school boards;
- Help keep rural schools open by incorporating early childhood education and other community services in existing facilities;
- Use the strength of SaskTel to deliver high-speed internet and quality cellular service across the province;
- Work with local stakeholders, experts and oversight bodies to develop a strategy to deal with water drainage problems and the preservation of wetlands.
- Support aging-in-place through maintenance of senior housing units and accessible, affordable, high quality long-term care in smaller centres;
- Develop and implement a comprehensive environmentally sustainable waste management strategy that doesn’t burden smaller communities;
- Protect Saskatchewan land from excess out-of-province and hidden foreign acquisition and other non-productive market forces that inflate land prices;
- Discontinue the addition of PST to insurance, including crop and hail insurance, and bring pricing and coverage into parity with neighbouring provinces;
- Provide landowners with tax incentives for conserving wetlands, woodlands and grasslands in ways that sustain natural carbon sinks;
- Work with local communities, producers, environmental NGOs and other stakeholders to renew the province’s commitment to retain, protect, and actively steward crown lands—in particular, all community pastures and lands originally placed in the Wildlife Habitat Protection Act.
“I grew up on a farm near Courval, southwest of Moose Jaw, with a deep appreciation of the values inherent in rural community life,” Meili said. “When rural Saskatchewan does well, the whole province does well. The land provides us with enormous wealth, but too often the people living in rural and northern areas see that wealth leaving their communities and leaving little in return. It’s time we change that.”
Meili’s full policy release is available on his campaign website at www.ryanmeili.com/rural.
Saskatchewan New Democrats choose a leader March 3. The last day to purchase a membership to vote in the race is January 19.
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