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NDP releases platform promising improved health care, smaller classrooms

Click to play video 'In conversation with Saskatchewan NDP Leader Ryan Meili' In conversation with Saskatchewan NDP Leader Ryan Meili
WATCH: Saskatchewan's New Democrats are promising sweeping changes if elected this fall. Ryan Meili talks about their plans for the economy and education from a party aiming to be more than a strong opposition – Oct 21, 2020

Saskatchewan NDP Leader Ryan Meili released a policy platform on Friday that includes promises to reduce classroom sizes, raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, and bringing back the Saskatchewan Transportation Company and the film tax credit.

The platform outlines earlier promises to have $25 a day child care, to hire 700 additional health-care staff and creating dedicated mental health emergency rooms in Saskatoon, Prince Albert and Moose Jaw.

Read more: Saskatchewan Party releases full platform, promises balanced budget by 2024

The platform is projected to cost $2.1 billion over the next five years.

Similar to the Saskatchewan Party, the NDP will run a deficit over the next four years reducing the deficit to $562.9 million by the 2024-25 budget. The NDP platform says the party will work with an “expert panel” on their path back to balanced budgets at an undetermined date.

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NDP leader Ryan Meili says his party’s 22-page report on policy focuses on investments in health care, education and job creation while implementing a Sask-First procurement policy.

FULL COVERAGE: 2020 Saskatchewan Election

“Deep cuts that hurt people and our economy are a bad idea at any time, but during a pandemic they are downright dangerous,” said Meili.

“We know that across Saskatchewan, communities are pulling together to fight COVID-19, but Scott Moe has chosen a path that will make life tougher for families. It doesn’t have to be that way. The people of Saskatchewan have a choice. They can choose an NDP government that puts people first.”

New measures implemented by the party would include restoring the film employment tax credit, removing the PST from construction labour, reducing the craft beer levy and taxing people with a net worth of $15 million or a more an additional one per cent.

Click to play video 'Saskatchewan Party, NDP unveil election platforms' Saskatchewan Party, NDP unveil election platforms
Saskatchewan Party, NDP unveil election platforms – Oct 9, 2020

“Scott Moe’s old ideas aren’t working for ordinary families. More Sask. Party cuts aren’t the way to rebuild our province,” Meili said. “We need to invest in people. Invest in health care. In seniors. In our kids’ schools. We need to diversify our economy and get families and our province moving forward again.”

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The platform has several sections that touch upon clean energy that aims to reduce emissions and lower bills for families.

The report highlights a plan to move to 50 per cent renewable and non-emitting electricity by 2030, and having a target of 100 per cent emissions-free electricity by 2050. The platform states it would like to work with First Nations and Metis communities to generate their own power and create a distributed energy grid.

The policy states the NDP will build relationships with First Nations and Metis governments while investing $10 million to act on the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. It also promises to fund schools on First Nations equally.

Read more: Saskatchewan election tracker 2020: Here’s what the parties are promising

As for legislation, the party says it will introduce stronger conflict-of-interest rules for MLAs, reduce the gender wage gap, and make all lobbying public.

On Friday, the Sask. Party also introduced its platform while criticizing the NDP’s policies calling them “not good enough.”

“The reality is the NDP has no plan to balance the budget. Their reckless spending would lead to increased deficits and higher taxes down the road,” the Sask. Party said in a statement.

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“They are a risk we can’t afford.”

Saskatchewan Party Leader Scott Moe and Saskatchewan NDP Leader Ryan Meili will square off on Oct. 14 at 6:05 p.m. in a debate that will be broadcast live on Global Regina and Saskatoon and on globalnews.ca.

Click to play video 'Sask. NDP promises $25-per-day childcare' Sask. NDP promises $25-per-day childcare
Sask. NDP promises $25-per-day childcare – Sep 5, 2020