Moving right along, we come to the latest from Ryan Meili's campaign.
In addition to new ideas popping up on Ryan's "Your Ideas" page (LINK), the most recent development from the Meili campaign has been to address the hot button issue of refugee health care. (Perhaps once I've done all the leadership updates, the blog will take a 'Federal' break and talk about it as well, among other things.)
Given the Ryan has spent a lot of time talking about health, both physical and in more abstract terms, it's unsurprising that he would add his voice to this field; in fact, Ryan has been talking about the issue since the Harper Government first announced that it would be clawing back the Interim Federal Health Program.
I could be wrong, but I do believe this is the first time Ryan has put a provincial spin on the issue though. As such, he's called for the provincial government to step up and provide health services for those who are falling through the cracks until the Federal Government reinstates the program. The release talks about how some refugees, who remain covered under the guidelines, are falling through the cracks due to confusion about who is and is not covered.
Ryan is calling for the Saskatchewan Government to follow in the steps of British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, and Quebec and to provide coverage. Furthermore, the Meili Campaign has called attention to the fact that the Saskatchewan Government is currently not applying the law as written to all immigrants and newcomers to Saskatchewan.
The release states that anyone who has lived, legally, in Saskatchewan for three months is entitled to health care coverage. It goes on to say that the current government is only providing health care to those with work permits, as opposed to all who meet the letter of the law.
Ryan hammered home the point that providing this care saves money in the long run, and that we should be working towards a medicare system that includes pharmaceutical, optometic, and dental care for all Canadians.
It's an interesting, if not expected, approach for Ryan's campaign to take. As mentioned, given his background in medicine and his promotion of his 'A Healthy Society' book, health issues are going to play an important part in the Meili Campaign and will (and in some ways already have) serve as a cornerstone in his approach to the race.
Furthermore, this is an issue that tends to be quite emotional. I don't think anyone would want to be 'the person' who denies health care to anyone in need of it; and as Canadians, we've always sort of had the mentality that we'll provide for those who need it, provided that they'll turn around and help us if and when we need it.
This is also Ryan's first real jab, and challenge, to the sitting government. I've mentioned before how Erin Weir has sort of cornered the market on directly challenging Wall and his ministers, and now it seems that the rest of the campaigns are eager to get in there as well. As the race goes on, it will become less about challenging each other and more about presenting one's self as an alternative to the current government.
And staking the moral high ground on health care for the most vulnerable, is one hell of a challenge to the current Premier.