COVID-19 response again the topic of debate in Saskatchewan’s Question Period

Tuesday’s Question Period saw more debate over the province’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This time, NDP Leader Ryan Meili accused the Sask. Party government of stopping Crown Corporations from moving ahead with a masking mandate before the province implemented theirs in September.

“Internal (Crown Investment Corporation) documents show that the president of SGI wanted to bring back masking for employees on Aug. 26 as the fourth wave was raging through the province. He tried to bring back masking, but this government wouldn’t let him,” Meili said. “Why did the Premier block SGI from protecting its’ staff and customers with something as simple as masks?”

Health Minister Paul Merriman says they acted on the recommendations from Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Saqib Shahab.

“We are going to be the first ones in this country to deliver vaccinations to children between five and 11,” Merriman said. “We have almost 12,000 appointments that were booked between 8:00 AM and 1:00 PM (Wednesday), there’s 45,000 appointments available, we hope that the parents will have those important discussions with their children on the importance of getting vaccinated.”

Since the proof of vaccine requirements and mandatory masking measures took effect, Merriman says over 200,000 more vaccines have been administered in the province.

The opposition NDP also questioned Sask. Party government’s plan to put COVID-19 vaccines into the arms of kids ages five to 11 in the province.

Education critic Carla Beck accused the health minister of using anti-vax rhetoric when he told reporters the province didn’t want to create two tiers of students between vaccinated and unvaccinated students.

Education Minister Dustin Duncan says they are sticking with what the National Advisory Committee on Immunizations has stated: they don’t want to stigmatize kids over a choice that’s not theirs.

“I’m not going to have kindergarten teachers in this province ask kids ‘do you have your lunch? Do you have your extra change of clothes? Do you have your QR Code? You don’t? Well get out of here, beat it,’” Duncan said. “We’re not going to do that in this province.”

Appointments for kids five to 11 to receive their first doses of COVID vaccines will take place Wednesday.

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