Premier rules out selling all of SaskTel

Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall has ruled out selling the government-owned phone company in its entirety, after previously promising a referendum on a strong offer for SaskTel.

Brad Wall still open to selling up to half of Crown corporation

Brad Wall says he has a sense from voters that they're not interested in the sale of SaskTel. (Neil Cochrane/CBC)

Saskatchewan's premier says he does not need a referendum to know what voters think of selling SaskTel.

Brad Wall said in the past year, since the idea has been discussed in earnest in the wake of the sale of Manitoba Telecom Services, he has heard from Saskatchewan people.

"I just have the clearest sense from voters, similar to in the middle of election campaigns in the past, and they're not interested," Wall said.

"They're not interested in a referendum; they're not interested in the potential sale of SaskTel."

But Wall said he has not ruled out "partnering" with another company by selling shares in SaskTel.

His government has introduced a bill to clarify that selling up to 49 per cent of a company is not "privatization."

Opposition leader Trent Wotherspoon said Wall only has the public's sentiment half right. 

"He has clearly understood that he would not be able to win a referendum on this front and so now he's going forward in a deceitful way to sell off potentially up to half of any one of our Crown corporations, including SaskTel," said Wotherspoon.

The NDP says it will continue to fight the legislation to clarify the definition of privatization.