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Saskatchewan premier not ruling out early election despite COVID 19 pandemic

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe .
Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe . Mark Taylor / The Canadian Press

Saskatchewan’s premier isn’t ruling out an early election call despite the World Health Organization declaring the novel coronavirus outbreak a global pandemic.

Scott Moe says health officials will be able to handle the situation if and when there is a case of COVID-19 in the province.

“The fact of the matter is our four years is up now,” Moe said after a bear-pit session at the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities convention on Wednesday.

READ MORE: Saskatchewan officials say province is preparing for potential coronavirus outbreak

“I would like a mandate from the people of the province. I would like that mandate sooner rather than later.”

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Moe said voters should trust that the government can weather any economic impacts.

The premier has faced criticism from the Opposition NDP over the possibility of calling a spring election, given the spread of the virus.

“I am not going to walk away from serving the people of this province,” Moe said.

READ MORE: Saskatchewan premier, health minister accuse NDP of politicizing coronavirus, ‘fearmongering’

“I am going to be here to serve them, most assuredly, and the people of this province can have every confidence _ every confidence _ that health-care officials do have all of the supports necessary.”

NDP Leader Ryan Meili has said he believes Moe will call an election next week after the new budget is tabled.

On Wednesday, Meili said going to the polls in the spring would be “recklessly stupid.”