Meili calls Merriman a ‘failure’, Moe says ‘zip it’ in heated exchange over operating delays

The leader of the opposition and Saskatchewan’s prime minister clashed on Tuesday over the Saskatchewan Health Authority’s decision to slow down health services, including some surgeries, in the midst of increased COVID-19 patient burden in recent months.

During the question period, Ryan Meili called Paul Merriman an “emblem of failure” amid proposals that the government’s “failure to act” resulted in the worst COVID-19-related death rate in the country in recent weeks.

“For the premiere, how on earth can you hold someone who is such an emblem of failure, such a mountain of incompetence, in the main chair during a pandemic?” asked Meili in a hoarse chamber exchange.

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However, the premiere was quick to defend his belittled colleague, who has also been criticized by the opposition for the timing of recent mask and vaccine mandates.

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“Perhaps the members of the opposition, if they would just lighten it for a minute, they might be able to hear one of those answers, Mr President,” Moe replied, quoting a statistic which was also highlighted by Merriman in the Legislative Assembly on Tuesday. .

“As the Minister of Health has indicated, through a very challenging time, 88 percent of the surgeries (scheduled for this year) were completed.”

Following on from his comments about slowdowns in the health care system, which have resulted in delays of over 275 services and an apology from the premiere, Moe promised the health ministry is “hard at work” in developing a plan to bring the system back to normal.

“As we look at the next number of days, the Ministry of Health is actively working on all options we have to resume these services as soon as we are able.”

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But in a Provincial Emergency Operations Center update on Tuesday, Saskatchewan Health Authority CEO Scott Livingstone hinted that there is no immediate plan to catch up on delayed surgeries.

“I do not even want to wonder how long, because again, what you need to remember is that it is not just about what is on the waiting list today. That is what is coming on the waiting list,” Livingstone said.

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Livingstone added that there have been about 26,000 surgical delays since the onset of the pandemic.


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