Saskatchewan

Government in more hot water over Spudco allegations

The Opposition says there is one more reason for a public inquiry into the provincial government's failure in the potato business.

The Opposition says there is one more reason for a public inquiry into the provincial government's failure in the potato business.

The Saskatchewan Party says plaintiffs who were suing the government raised another disturbing allegation Tuesday. One of the investors involved says a private sector partner never intended to put any money towards building potato sheds.

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The government has always maintained it had an arrangement with the company, Conforce, in which Conforce would put forward 51 per cent of the money, and the government would put up the remainder.

The government says that relationship changed at the last minute, and the province had to cover the entire amount.

But investor Mark Langefeld says he spoke with Conforce representatives and they never intended to put up any money.

"We were suckered," says Langefeld.

Peter Prebble, the minister responsible for Spudco, says he doesn't know the details of early discussions between the government and Conforce.

He says people deserve to know if the government ever had a reason to believe it had a private partner, but he doesn't think it is worth a public inquiry to find out.

"Are we really saying that we want to spend $2.5 million getting an answer to that particular question?" asks Prebble. "I really think that that would be unwise."

Prebble says the government has already apologized for misleading the public about the nature of the potato partnership.

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