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Ryan Meili stepping down as MLA of Saskatoon Meewasin

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NDP leader Ryan Meili announced he is resigning from his position as MLA of Saskatoon Meewasin.

Meili is also stepping down as the leader of the official opposition, as the spring sitting of the Saskatchewan Legislature ends.

“It is time for me to move on and do other things and I’m so grateful for the opportunity to have been the leader of the NDP, to have been leader of the opposition and to be a doctor leading in the middle of a pandemic, it’s been the challenge and opportunity and honour of a lifetime,” Meili said.

Representatives from both sides of the aisle offered their appreciation for Meili and his family for their sacrifice and service to the people of Saskatchewan, during proceedings Thursday.

“As a leader, as an activist, as a doctor in Saskatoon and right across this province, as far away as Mozambique Ryan Meili has made a lot of sacrifices in the name of helping others," NDP MLA Carla Beck said.

Premier Scott Moe also wished Meili the best – commending his perseverance.

“The fact that he did live true to his beliefs whether we agreed on those beliefs or not he most certainly did live to them and he stood by them and those two traits, perseverance and being true to the beliefs that you have, I think are admirable in any individual,” Moe said.

“We largely as politicians likely agree on more than we disagree on and I would say that extends across Saskatchewan.”

Meili served as the MLA for Saskatoon Meewasin for five years and as leader of the provincial NDP for four.

He was elected as leader in 2018, after two failed attempts to get the job.

A new NDP leader will be elected in June. Two names are on the ballot: Regina Lakeview MLA Carla Beck and Saskatoon lawyer Kaitlyn Harvey.

Following the leadership vote, a by-election will be held in Meili’s constituency. A date has not yet been set.

It will be a critical seat for the NDP to maintain as Meili’s departure leaves the party with just 11 out of 61 seats in the legislature.

“I won’t be that MLA, but I’m going to be helping out in that campaign to make sure we win,” Meili said.

Meili said his final day in the seat will be July 1.

The outgoing leader added that he is going to take some time off to think through his next steps.

“It will be medicine and some degree of advocacy for health because I don’t really know how to do anything else,” he said. “I’ll definitely be seeing patients, that is something I’ve missed and I enjoy so much.”

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