Ten Reasons I'm Supporting Ryan Meili – #2 – He Dreams Big

I've mentioned in passing one of my first experiences when I chose to volunteer with Ryan's campaign.  I went to a planning meeting for his volunteers a few months ago.  When it was time to ask questions, I had a pretty important one.

“What's Ryan's big idea?  What's his Medicare?”

Dion Tchorzewski looked at me and said, “Well, he's talked a lot about an idea he's calling SaskPharm…” 

Dion and a couple others at the meeting went on to explain to me that Ryan's idea was to start a Crown Corporation to develop and manufacture genetic drugs that could supply both our needs here in Saskatchewan at cost.  They could also be sold to other jurisdictions at a slight mark-up to generate revenue for the province. 

As the campaign went on, more details about this program were released and the inter-connected beauty of the idea was revealed.  This wasn't just a doctor advocating for a pet issue – this was a massive idea that could have a number of positive impacts – from the use of our own agricultural products in the productions of these medicines to the development of our knowledge economy via research and development at our two universities.  It would increase the number of jobs and level of general economic activity in the province and yes, the good doctor's big idea would also have the enormous benefit of reducing our spiraling healthcare costs, especially timely given our aging population. 

Ryan is obviously idealistic (and often gets criticized for this quality.)  But what his critics don't acknowledge is that his idealism is tempered by a pragmatism and a political skill which both shine through equally, especially with an idea like this.  Pragmatism because SaskPharm's a big idea that's easily doable yet has the potential to change our society in a fundamental way.  Politically skillful because, as the Jurist observes, it's hard for anyone of any political stripe to come out as being against cheap prescription drugs (or increased funding for arts & culture in rural Saskatchewan – another idea Ryan has put out while no other candidate has touched arts & culture as an issue in any way that I've seen.)

Dreaming big is a bad thing if your head's always in the clouds and never back on the ground.  But if you have a fully developed plan and a track record of making “impossible” projects happen, dreaming big isn't really dreaming at all, is it?  (And to see how comittted Ryan is to making this idea happen, you might notice that SaskPharm is the only specific policy idea of Ryan's to get its own section in his “Issues & Ideas” menu whereas everything else in a bit more – no pun intended – generic – from Agriculture to Gender Equity to Seniors.) 

And of course you know which other social activist liked the big idea, right?

Next: #1 – (I'm Keeping This One A Surprise!) 

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