Saskatchewan NDP Leader Ryan Meili looks back on a historic year while remaining optimistic about the future

It goes without saying, 2020 was a year like no other for many reasons, including COVID-19.

Aside from the worst pandemic in over 100 years, Saskatchewan also experienced a large uptick in drug overdoses, both fatal and non-fatal.

In a year end interview that can be heard on 620 CKRM on New Year’s Day, Saskatchewan NDP Leader Ryan Meili says it’s an alarming statistic that cannot be ignored.

Meili feels one way to keep people safe while waiting to go to, or looking for a rehabilitation centre is safe consumption sites that are supervised.

“Harm reduction is clearly one of the things that can work,”Meili said. “Let’s get people through the time when they are using, make sure they’re less likely to overdose or wind up with illnesses such as HIV or Hepatitis C and other illnessed related to using, and at the same time get them connected to recovery options,” Meili said.

That is one of just many ideas Meili hopes are implemented by the current provincial government, after a provincial election last fall that saw his NDP secure just 13 seats in Saskatchewan’s Legislature.

It was the SaskParty’s fourth straight majority and first not under former Premier Brad Wall.

Despite not securing his own seat until the final few votes were counted for the overall result, Meili intends to remain the leader of Saskatchewan’s NDP, he’s also looking forward to the next four years.

“I’m encouraged by some of what I’ve been hearing, Meili said. “Over the last while we have seen a lot more people saying the Sask Party is out of ideas and they’re not bringing anything new, and that opens up opportunities for a party like ours,” Meili said.

Meili also knows where the NDP stand with the majority of rural people across Saskatchewan, calling it one of the party’s biggest challenges to overcome moving forward.

The entire interview with  Meili can be heard on 620 CKRM on New Year’s Day.

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