Estevan mayor criticizes NDP outreach on coal jobs – by Arthur White-Crummey (Regina Leader-Post – May 15, 2019)

“It is time to move away from coal, but you don’t move away from the people,” NDP leader Ryan Meili said while pushing the province to support miners during the transition

With Saskatchewan miners facing the economic hammer blow of a looming coal phase-out, NDP Leader Ryan Meili is pushing the province to do more to blunt the damage. But he earned the ire of Estevan’s mayor by supporting the very policy that’s threatening the industry.

“I actually think it’s a good decision. It is time to move away from coal, but you don’t move away from the people,” Meili said. “And that’s what I think Saskatchewan is really missing here. They’re saying it’s someone else’s fault, so we won’t help.”

Mayor Roy Ludwig agreed that the province is dragging its heels, but he had a simple message for Meili: “We would rather keep our jobs, thank you very much.”

Meili raised the issue during question period on Wednesday, pointing to statements by Ludwig. The mayor has called on the province to join federal efforts to support communities affected by the phase-out, which requires conventional coal power plants to shut down by 2030.

“Why not show some leadership?” Meili said. “Be present for training opportunities, instead of just passing the buck.” Ottawa is pledging $35 million to support skills development and economic diversification, and millions more for infrastructure investment.

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