BY RYAN MEILI
The Saskatchewan NDP meet this Saturday, March 9, to select a new leader. One of the contenders, physician and author Ryan Meili, describes his vision for a healthy and sustainable future for Saskatchewan.
Saskatchewan has been blessed with incredible good fortune. We are rich in renewable and nonrenewable resources, and we have a proud legacy of independence and innovation, of meeting our challenges with made-in-Saskatchewan solutions.
Right now, however, we're being told a seductive story, one of endless growth in the New Saskatchewan. We're being told that so long as we're not tempted to channel that growth to meet our needs, all of our problems will magically be solved.
It's a seductive story, but it's also a destructive story, because in the guise of an easy recipe for success, we're actually being asked to accept failure.
We're told that quality schools and accessible higher education are too much to ask, that food banks and homeless shelters are here to stay. We're told that environmental damage, the loss of workplace rights and the disappearance of rural life are simply the cost of doing business. We're told, in short, that the only way to make things better is to allow the things we value most to get worse.
I don't buy this story, and neither do growing numbers of people across the province. But it's not enough to just say no to the false choices we're being offered. We need a better story, one that demonstrates how we can enjoy the full promise of our prosperity.
By investing intelligently in what makes the biggest difference in people's health and wellbeing -- income and its distribution, education, employment, housing, nutrition, the wider environment -- we can channel our economic success into long-term social and economic prosperity.
This vision of a truly healthy society works because it appeals to our common values, and to our common sense. It allows us to move beyond ideology to a process of values-driven, evidence-based policy focused on the best outcomes for Saskatchewan people. Such an approach can restore the public's faith in its democratic institutions, increase public engagement and set the stage for the next great innovations.
I want to lead the NDP so that Saskatchewan can once again lead the nation in implementing bold and elegant solutions to our biggest challenges.
By joining together in pursuit of common goals, we can accomplish great things. We can pioneer a new and better approach. We can excite and inspire people to work together to build a better future for Saskatchewan.