Ranging from elementary school students to grandparents, the Moose Jaw Art Gallery Theater was almost full to sit in on the most recent Future Thinkers Speakers Series hosted by the Festival of Words this past week.
The featured presenter was MLA for Saskatoon Meewasin Dr. Ryan Meili, who was previously a doctor and moved from medicine to politics in the latest election.
He stressed the importance of "having a longer term view of the way we approach politics", especially in the medical field.
"It's interesting the Future Thinkers title for it is exactly what I was talking about," said Meili. "Our economy loses about 4 billion dollars a year because of poverty, it's about 5% of our GDP, so it's very costly from a financial point of view, it's also deeply costly in peoples real lives. Being poor means you are less likely to be healthy it means you have fewer opportunities to succeed."
Meili wants people to look at politics as a long term view by helping people before they require a doctor, stating he would like to see an active poverty reduction strategy for Saskatchewan.
"I really do think we need to have this strategy in place with clear timelines, targets and accountability. By what year will you reduce poverty by how much and whose going to actually be watching that."
He added that Saskatchewan and British Columbia are the only two provinces in Canada without a plan in place.