The Saskatchewan NDP is calling on the provincial government to “Save our Summer.”
With more and more people vaccinated against COVID-19 and the latest iteration of reopening Saskatchewan expected to be underway by next month, the official Opposition launched its SOS campaign Thursday morning.
“We’re calling on the Sask Party government to do everything it can right now to make sure we get the economy back on track and to allow families to have a safe, fun summer,” Leader Ryan Meili said during an outdoor press conference in Regina.
The SOS campaign is pushing for three key things to happen:
- waiving provincial park gate fees ahead of the May long weekend for the entire summer;
- reinstating the Gradworks program to help students find summer work, in particular, with the province’s Crown corporations; and
- removing PST from restaurant meals to help struggling local establishments.
The NDP pitch came up during question period Thursday afternoon. After, Jeremy Harrison, the minister responsible for Tourism Saskatchewan, defended the province’s existing plans with no indication of any amendments to reflect the Opposition’s asks.
“With regard to the list they put forward, it really is the sign of a party that is not that serious,” Harrison said.
Harrison said parks were full last summer, despite the gate fee, which is $10 for a daily visit. He also noted that some people who reserved early have already paid this year.
He also touted Saskatchewan’s low youth unemployment rate and said the government’s support of the hospitality sector has allowed it to keep operating with restrictions during these later waves of COVID-19.