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Saskatchewan is one of two provinces in Canada with no plan to resume its legislature

Coronavirus outbreak: ‘Separate discussion’ happening on resuming legislature, Moe says
WATCH: When asked about a decision on resuming legislature and if it would be included in Saskatchewan’s Phase 3 reopening plan, Premier Scott Moe said on Thursday that it is a “separate discussion” occurring among House leaders, and he hopes his government is able to move forward with the introduction and passage of a budget.

The Saskatchewan government and the opposition have yet to agree on a plan to resume the spring session despite eight other provinces in Canada doing so.

For weeks, the Saskatchewan NDP have been asking the government to resume the legislature in order to fully debate the 2020-21 budget.

“[The Saskatchewan Party government] owe a budget and a plan to the people of Saskatchewan. They can’t keep writing themselves blank cheques behind closed doors,” said opposition leader Ryan Meili, Thursday.
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Premier Scott Moe says it’s his understanding a plan was presented to the Sask. NDP by government house leader Jeremy Harrison, who was not available for comment.

READ MORE: Premier Moe wants Saskatchewan’s 2020-21 budget tabled, scrutinized before fall election

“When would that have happened,” Meili asked on the steps of the legislature.

“We’ve been waiting for them to engage in conversation. At every point they’ve resisted doing so. [Harrison’s had every opportunity]. He knows we’re here.”

The Sask. NDP say they have presented their own plan to resume the session, which includes social distancing measures, an option for virtual meetings and reduced MLAs sitting in the house.

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The legislature has been adjourned since March 18 to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.

With New Brunswick and P.E.I. resuming their legislature on Tuesday, Saskatchewan will become one of the last provinces in Canada to not do the same since COVID-19 struck the nation. The other is Nova Scotia.

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Below is a breakdown of how often other legislatures across Canada have met during the pandemic.

British Columbia:

  • Adjourned on March 23 the same day the provincial budget was tabled
  • Resumed legislature to discuss spending estimates and pass legislation.
  • Has ruled out video conferencing, while a reduced number of MLAs sit in the house
  • 12 virtual committees held since being adjourned on March 23 with another 24 meetings planned throughout June

READ MORE: Saskatchewan legislators should be back at work, says politics professor: ‘I find it strange’

Alberta:

  • Adjourned on March 20
  • Bills have been debated and question period has been held
  • Legislators started sitting every Tuesday through Thursday, for a total of 19 times, with reduced MLAs in the house
  • Three committee meetings have been held
  • Alberta’s budget was tabled in February

Saskatchewan:

  • Legislature adjourned on March 18, with the house yet to be recalled
  • Two committee meetings have been held since to discuss government spending
  • No budget tabled, but the province released its spending plan in mid-March

Manitoba:

  • Adjourned March 19, same day the Manitoba budget was tabled
  • Legislative assembly has met four times since mid-April when the session resumed. Since then MLAs have met in the house every Wednesday which includes time for questions
  • One committee meeting has been held, with two others scheduled in June

Ontario:

  • Adjourned on March 12 as the province shelved its plan for a full 2020 budget. Similar to Saskatchewan, the province released its spending estimates
  • After a two month hiatus, question period resumed with both parties agreeing to not politicize the virus
  • Legislative assembly has sat six times since March 12
  • No committee meetings have been held since adjourning with none scheduled for the future
Saskatchewan legislators should be back at work, says politics professor: ‘I find it strange’
Saskatchewan legislators should be back at work, says politics professor: ‘I find it strange’

Quebec:

  • Adjourned on March 17
  • The legislative assembly resumed on May 13 and has met once. The assembly will sit again three more times for the remainder of May.
  • From June 2 to 12, the assembly will sit every Tuesday through Friday
  • Question period has resumed
  • The province’s budget was tabled on March 10

Nova Scotia:

  • Adjourned on March 16, and remains adjourned
  • It’s budget was tabled on Feb. 24
  • First committee meeting since the house adjourned is scheduled for Tuesday with members meeting over the phone.

P.E.I.:

  • The legislature was set to resume on April 7 but the spring session never opened
  • The legislature is being recalled on Tuesday following the request of the official opposition. This will be the resumption of the first session of the 66th assembly.
  • Public and media gallery will be removed to allow space between MLAs
  • No budget has been tabled

New Brunswick:

  • The legislature was adjourned on March 17 and will resume on Tuesday
  • Zero committee meetings have been held
  • The province’s budget was tabled on March 10

Newfoundland and Labrador:

  • Adjourned March 12
  • Legislature has been recalled twice to deal with labour protections for people missing work due to COVID-19, and to discuss government spending
  • Only 10 out of 40 members met
  • Two committee meetings have been held virtually
  • No budget has been tabled
Coronavirus outbreak: Premier Horgan on return of the B.C. legislature, school
Coronavirus outbreak: Premier Horgan on return of the B.C. legislature, school