Saskatchewan

Sask. Party MLA pledges review of Crown corporations

A senior Saskatchewan Party MLA says if the party wins the next election, it will review Crown corporations that are competing with private business.

Wading into potentially choppy political waters, a senior Saskatchewan Party MLA says ifthe partywins the next election, it willreview Crown corporations that are competing with private business.

And it would be open to dismantling some parts of them, MLA Dan D'Autremont said.

"In those areas where the Crowns continue to compete against private industry …that's an area where we may need to look at directing those Crown corporations in a different direction," D'Autremont said in an interview.

The Cannington MLA said a few years back his party passed a resolution to stop the provincial government from competing with private business. Party membershad concerns about SaskTel launching a home security business called SecurTek because it competed directly with a private company.

D'Autremont said Thursday a Saskatchewan Party government would review SecurTek and consider stopping it from competing with other companies by simply transferring the employees elsewhere.

"You're not selling that company, you're not selling SaskTel, but you're transferring those employees into a different department in SaskTel," D'Autremont said.

That seems to be a different message from what Sask. Party leader Brad Wall was delivering two weeks ago when he was questioned about the future of SecurTek.

"There would be no status change for SecurTek if we were the government tomorrow," Wall said.

D'Autremont didn't restrict his comments to SecurTek on Thursday. He said he'd want a Sask. Party governmentto look at making SaskTel'sfree high-speed wirelessinternet service into more of a "business proposition" and less of a "social policy."

Nothing has been decided, however, he said.

"The decision hasn't been made whether to do anything with any recommendations that would come out of a review," he said.

Stand draws fire from NDP

Deputy premier Clay Serby said the Sask. Party's intentions are now clear.

"They're going to do what we've been saying they're going to do and that's privatize the Crowns that are competing with the private sector," said Serby, one of the main organizers of the NDP campaign.

A high-profile NDP ad campaign that started last month attempts to portray the Saskatchewan Party as wolves in sheeps' clothing with a hidden agenda to privatize Crown corporations.

However, Wall characterized the campaign as a pack of lies and said the Sask. Party has pledged not to sell government-owned corporations.

The NDP is in the fourth year of its mandate and many observersbelieve a fall election is in the offing.

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