“We dream, and we deliver.”
Those were the words that Ryan Meili echoed plenty of times during his nearly 40-minute speech to party members at the Saskatchewan NDP convention in Saskatoon Saturday.
After criticizing what he called the Saskatchewan Party’s short-term thinking in affordable housing, and lack of climate change acknowledgement or action, Meili further invigorated the crowd gathered at TCU Place with the announcement of a new energy plan he would introduce if he were elected premier.
The program called Renew Saskatchewan would allow people to seek assessments of their private property or business to find a way to become more energy-efficient in the most cost-effective manner possible.
Then, the program would loan funds to begin renovations — for things like solar panels or energy efficient windows — that would be paid back via power bills.
“We have the best conditions for the production of solar energy in the entire country, so let’s enjoy our time in the sun,” Meili said prior to introducing the program.
“Publicly owned crown corporations operating in the public interest that have the ability to change the landscape of how we produce power, yet despite all these advantages, we’ve fallen behind. We have not been leaders in this area.”
While Meili acknowledged after his speech that the energy plan was separate from any carbon pricing, it didn’t stop him from sprinkling critiques at the provincial and federal governments.
“What the federal government has done, the way they’ve pushed this down to the provinces, asking us to carry water for them is doing nothing but give right-wing politicians like Scott Moe and his new pal, the buck-a-beer guy, a stick to beat them with while still doing nothing to meaningfully address climate change.”
Meili also pledged to raise the minimum wage in Saskatchewan to $15 if elected premier.
As far as the energy efficient revamp goes, Meili still has some questions to answer, like where the initial loan money will come from.
He said the party is a couple years away from answering that question or what the loan periods would look like.
“It could be from general revenues,” he said of the initial loan fund. “Or it could be from something more exciting, like a green energy savings bond, where people in Saskatchewan can actually invest, build up that original fund themselves and have that opportunity to make a little money as well.”
“It will drop your power bills right away, and in a few years, get them down to almost nothing.”
Meili is scheduled to take the microphone on Sunday, the final day of the convention.
“We’ve renewed the party, and now we’re ready to renew this province.”
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