Sask. Opposition wants detail on Regina bypass land deals

The Opposition says it is like pulling teeth to get details from the government on what it paid for land to build the Regina bypass.

NDP says ‘like pulling teeth’ to get information from government


The Opposition says it is like pulling teeth to get details from the government on what it paid for land to build the Regina bypass.

The Sask. NDP wants a detailed breakdown of who the province bought land from and for how much. But it says even though the province's land titles corporation could provide that information, the government will not allow it.

"Mr. Speaker, even though millions of Saskatchewan taxpayers' dollars were spent, we don't know from whom the land was bought and which sections were expropriated," said Cathy Sproule during question period on Monday.

She said the province's Information Services Corporations, which includes the land titles registry, could provide the information in bulk however the government official in charge of public records will not allow it.

The Opposition's Cathy Sproule says the government could expedite her request for detail on who it bought land from and how much it spent in order to build the Regina bypass. (Saskatchewan Legislature)

In a letter to Sproule, the registrar of titles for the Office of Public Registry Administration wrote that restricting title searches to one at a time "acts as a time and convenience barrier to inappropriate searching".

Sproule said that does not apply to the work of the official Opposition.

"The amount of money that's gone into the bypass, we need to understand who got paid what," Sproule told reporters.

She said if the government has nothing to hide, it should be willing to help her avoid the time and expense of searching one transaction at a time.

During question period, a government MLA heckled that she was asking the government to do her homework for her — something Sproule scoffed at.

The $1.88-billion bypass project is designed to let trucks travelling along the Trans-Canada and Highway 11 avoid having to drive through the city. (Saskatchewan government)

"This is taxpayers' dollars. We're the official Opposition and we should have access to that information in the most modern way available," she said.

After question period, the government responded by email to say legislation governing land titles does not allow anyone to overrule the registrar.

"Not only does this include the minister, but I think would especially mean the minister," said a spokesperson, noting a request can be made for the registrar to review the decision but after that, the next step of appeal would be the courts.