Saskatchewan NDP Leader Ryan Meili says his government would build a $60 million surgical facility in Regina if elected.
The facility, potentially earmarked for an area near Saskatchewan Polytechnic in south Regina, would offer surgery, diagnostic imaging, pharmacy, rehabilitation and outpatient cancer care.
The Sask. Party originally promised in 2012 to approve the facility, but it hasn’t been built.
“Heck, maybe we’ll call it the Brad Wall Surgical Centre. Doesn’t really matter what we call it, New Democrats will get the job done,” Meili told reporters on Wednesday.
The NDP is pushing to build the facility because of rising surgical wait times.
Meili said the surgical wait-list has grown to 26,000 people, and that there has been 11,000 fewer surgeries than previous years.
“The situation has gotten critical,” he said. “People are waiting too long, often in a lot of pain for surgery they need or badly needed diagnostic tests.”
He charged the Sask. Party’s MRI plan, which allows users to pay a private facility for scans, has caused the wait-list to double.
He said Sask. Party Leader Scott Moe’s plan will mean “more cuts, more austerity and more broken promises” that will make the problem “far worse.”
Regina resident Donna Smith, who suffers chronic pain and has been on a wait-list since June 2019, said it’s time to put an end to the long wait times.
“As time goes on, I’m unable to enjoy and participate in the activities I love,” she said during the announcement.
“It’s also hard to plan ahead. I love to travel and visit family, but not knowing when I’ll be called makes it hard to make definitive plans. I also live in chronic pain, using medication that I worry may be having longer term effects, such as stomach issues or kidney damage.”
Meili was questioned about how an NDP government would pay for the facility and other promises.
He said these investments would stimulate the economy.
For instance, Saskatchewan workers and companies would be hired to build infrastructure projects, he said, adding that a boost in the minimum wage would mean more money in the pockets of workers to spend at local businesses.
He said having $25 per day daycare would allow more people to work and stimulate the economy.
For more election coverage, visit CTV News’ Saskatchewan election page here.