The leaders of Saskatchewan’s two largest political parties participated in the only televised debate of the election campaign on Wednesday night.
FULL COVERAGE: 2020 Saskatchewan Election
This provided for some memorable lines as the leaders were questioned on topics centred around COVID-19, the economy, health care and Indigenous issues.
Here are some of the highlights from the 2020 leaders’ debate.
“You’ve been offside even with the chief medical health officer”
Both leaders clashed over their stance on a mask mandate, with Meili attacking Moe’s leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“You’ve been offside even with the chief medical health officer. The failure to speak out against the folks protesting and the anti-mask movement, and making it clear that’s not helpful,” Meili said as he posed a question to Moe.
“Where should people use them and what are the thresholds?”
“Our threshold is two metres,” Moe responded.
“No, the threshold is what number of cases, what rate of transmission, when would you introduce mandatory masks,” Meili re-asked.
“We have a very clear masking policy in this province that is here today. If you can maintain a two-metre physical distance, a mask is not required,” Moe said.
“A plan to make a plan to balance the budget”
Moe promised the Sask. Party would balance the budget by 2024 while taking aim at the NDP.
“Mr. Meili has no plan to balance the budget. He has a plan to make a plan, to balance the budget,” Moe said.
The Sask. Party leader accused the NDP’s plan of costing more than what taxpayers can afford.
“We had to cost our plan. I didn’t think we had to cost the opposition’s plan, but we did,” Moe said. “The question that I have is how do you think Mr. Meili is going to pay for it? He isn’t. The Saskatchewan people are.”
Meili offered his defence stating the people of Saskatchewan deserve a plan that invests more into health care and education.
“We can afford it, and we deserve it,” Meili said. “We can’t afford four more years of background deals for the old boys club while families are struggling. Mr. Moe may be satisfied but the people certainly aren’t.”
“Get off my lawn”
When discussing Saskatchewan’s suicide prevention strategy, Meili criticized Moe for failing to meet with Tristen Durocher.
Durocher had set up a protest camp on the lawn of the Saskatchewan legislature to raise awareness for the province’s high suicide rates.
While there for 44 days, Durocher invited Moe to discuss ways to address suicide in the province, but the two never met. However, Ministers Lori Carr and Warren Kaeding did meet with Durocher.
“You sent two of your ministers across the road to basically say ‘Get off my lawn’. What kind of message do you think that sends to not only Tristen…but to every young person struggling right now with whether or not they feel their life is something they can continue,” Meili said.
“You sent the ministers with a very simple message: Pillars For Life is good enough. Now go away, get off our lawn.”
“It’s going to come from you”
In a bitter exchange over taxes, Meili stated the NDP would “not raise taxes for ordinary families.” The NDP previously promised to tax those with a net worth of $15 million or more, an additional one per cent.
“You are accounting with your tax increase, for one per cent, one per cent of your deficit spending that you have put forward. Where’s the other 99 per cent going to come from?” Moe asked as he looked into the camera to address viewers at home.
“It’s going to come from you.”