Value for money?

On June 27, 2012, when the NDP's Trent Wotherspoon asked Minister Donna Harpauer whether taxpayers got value for money when it comes to IPAC-CO2, here's how she responded:

"The contract cost was within the acceptable range for similar goods and services, and the goods and services were necessary for the function of IPAC."

 The concerns raised about IPAC were "not on the dollars," she said, just on "processes."

However, speaking to reporters at the legislature Monday, Harpauer said she knew back then IPAC had likely overpaid — and admits she didn't tell the NDP about it.

"So did I know it was a high price? Yes," she said Monday.

"We don't dispute that we probably overpaid or did overpay."

NDP's MLA Trent Wotherspoon says taxpayers should expect more transparency and accountability from their government.

"It was like pulling teeth then, it's like pulling teeth now," he said.

(With files from Geoff Leo)

The provincial government was quizzed Monday about the goings-on at a carbon capture project based at the University of Regina, which was financed in part with money from Saskatchewan.

However, the opposition says getting answers from the government has been like pulling teeth.

The NDP wanted to know more about an untendered contract involving International Performance Assessment Centre for Geologic Storage of CO2 (IPAC-CO2), and a company called Climate Ventures Inc.

CBC News has reported extensively about a probe into the deal.

A forensic report, written by the accounting firm Meyers Norris Penny, highlighted concerns about possible conflict of interest and mismanagement at IPAC, which was initially overseen by employees of the U of R.

The forensic report was ordered in 2011 by the board of IPAC.

On Monday, the opposition claimed the minister responsible for Saskatchewan's funding of IPAC was not providing enough information when the matter was brought up in committee proceedings of the legislature.

However, the minister — Donna Harpauer — said she has responded with what she considered to be the most important points.

"My concern and I thought the concern of the public is: 'Do we have money missing?' And repeatedly throughout I said all of the money is accounted for," Harpauer said Monday. "We understand the contract was flawed."

The NDP's Trent Wotherspoon countered that people should know when tax dollars may have been wasted through sole-sourced contracts.

"I think the public has a great interest about wasted money," Wotherspoon said. "I mean we're talking about $2 million, at the same time that this government's making cuts in many communities all across Saskatchewan, in classrooms all across Saskatchewan. You bet the public cares about wasted money."

University officials have acknowledged policies were not followed in the management of IPAC.

Premier Brad Wall has said he expects provincial funding for IPAC is coming to an end.