Saskatchewan

Opposition accuses Sask. government of keeping the door open to privatize Crowns

Premier Brad Wall has clarified that only portions that relate to the sale of Crown corporations will be repealed in Bill 40, but legislation will still allow governments the power to wind down Crowns.

Premier Brad Wall says he will repeal only sections of Bill 40, not all of it

Interim NDP leader Nicole Sarauer wants Bill 40 entirely scrapped, not just sections of the law. (Kirk Fraser/CBC)

The official Opposition says the Sask. Party government's decision to repeal only portions of Bill 40 is leaving the door open to privatize the province's Crown corporations. 

Two days after Premier Brad Wall took to social media announcing the government will scrap a new law allowing up to 49 per cent of a Crown to be sold, he clarified on Thursday only sections of the bill would be canned.

"We're going to repeal the portions that relate directly to the sale of any part of the Crown. We think definitionally that a wind down should be available to this government or future governments."

Premier Brad Wall says the surviving parts of Bill 40 will only apply to those not making money. (Kirk Fraser/CBC)

Wall said shutting down a Crown would be a rarer occurrence than potential sales. 

"Obviously there's not very many examples of our Crown corporations that would ever be candidates for that because they make money or they provide a utility. In the case of STC, unfortunately, the losses were mounting. There was no end in sight to them."

The government introduced Bill 40 last year in order to create a legal definition of privatization.

It would have allowed for the partial sale of a Crown without requiring a vote of support from the people of the province.

We don't want a repeat of STC: NDP

Nicole Sarauer, interim leader of the Sask. NDP, said she wants the bill scrapped in its entirety. 

"This is why Saskatchewan people don't trust the Sask. Party any more on this file," she said of the clarification.

"We don't want to see any of our Crowns be treated the way that STC was again and the concern is [Wall] feels the need to leave that in the legislation. Again, what does that mean? How can we trust them to not do that to another Crown." 

Responding to Wall's point that the government would not wind down a revenue-generating Crown, Sarauer pointed to the government's decision to privatize the government's Information Services Corporation.

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