With recent revelations that Finance Minister Donna Harpauer instructed the use of private email servers, with the sole purpose of sheltering government documents from the Freedom of Information Act, the PC Party of Saskatchewan is calling on Premier Wall to ask for her resignation from Cabinet.
"In Saskatchewan, Freedom of Information laws are in place to ensure that the public has access to all government related documents. In an open and free society, transparency in government is a cornerstone of democracy. For some time now, the Sask Party government has been caught up in a state of secrecy and cover-up, which must come to an end now” said PC Party Leader Rick Swenson.
Mr. Swenson went on to say, “During the GTH land scandal investigations, requests for information through the Freedom of Information rules were met with delays and exorbitant costs, all with the sole purpose of preventing damaging information from ever seeing the light of day. Then, this week we learn that Minister Harpauer directed the use “private” email servers, so that sensitive information would be entirely sheltered Freedom of Information act scrutiny”.
In conclusion, Mr. Swenson said “Before the 2016 General Election the Sask Party deliberately mislead voters on the true state of the province’s finances, despite accurate warnings from the PC Party. Voters deserved to know that truth in April of 2016, just as they deserve to know the truth today. Given her shaky track record on disclosure and transparency, it is clear that Ms. Harpauer is not fit to serve as Minister of Finance or frankly, in any other ministry. It is time for the Premier to show some leadership and ask for her resignation immediately”.
- 30 –
With the TransCanada decision not to proceed with the Energy East pipeline, the PC Party of Saskatchewan is calling for an expansion of refining capabilities in western Canada and a change in the federal regulatory environment.
"Yesterday's decision not to proceed with the Energy East pipeline and rely on foreign "conflict oil" for eastern Canada is very disappointing news for Saskatchewan and all Canadians, ” said PC Party Leader Rick Swenson.
Mr. Swenson went on to say, “It is ironic that the Energy East pipeline, which would have added value to Canadian oil and created jobs for Canadian workers while guaranteeing energy self-sufficiency is now shelved. The Keystone XL Pipeline which will send our oil to Texas refineries to add value and grow USA jobs, is approved by our government even though it has the same quality standards as Energy East would have. President Trump must be ecstatic, he reneges on NAFTA and is now guaranteed cheap Canadian oil for decades.
With the demise of Energy East, perhaps now is the time to explore partnerships with industry, First Nations and municipalities to expand refining capacity in Saskatchewan. I was part of a Progressive Conservative government in Saskatchewan which understood the need to add value to our raw resources. Under a PC government, Saskatchewan saw the addition of two heavy oil upgraders.”
In conclusion, Mr. Swenson said “It's time to stop the finger pointing and look for solutions. Adding value here at home is the right thing to do for jobs and the Canadian economy. What is needed now is vision, partnership and leadership - not the cheap politics of political bottom-feeders like Denis Coderre, the Mayor of Montreal."
- 30 –
The PC Party of Saskatchewan is demanding that the Wall government release all documents and industry reports surrounding the deadly H2S gas leaks that occurred in south eastern Saskatchewan.
“Like everyone else in Saskatchewan, I was in a state of shock, anger and disbelief to learn that the Wall government failed to respond and warn the public about a deadly threat of H2S gases that are leaking across the province” said PC Party Leader Rick Swenson.
Mr. Swenson went on to say, “Sadly, and to no one’s surprise, this occurred under the watch of former Minister of the Economy, Bill Boyd. It is one thing for the Premier and the Sask Party to deflect and cover up fiscal scandals that happened under Mr. Boyd’s watch, however when a life has been lost and the health of others in south east Saskatchewan has been put in jeopardy, this is where everyone must say enough is enough. I ask the Premier, given all problems and incompetence surrounding Mr. Boyd, why was he still part of your Cabinet and trusted as your most powerful Minister?”
“As a former Energy Minister, what I find the most troubling is the fact that even after a tragic death and incident reports of others exposed to unsafe levels of H2S gases, there was still no public statement from the government. As Energy Minister, you are responsible to promote the resource but also to be a responsible regulator and honest broker. If the allegations are proven true, what has happened with H2S releases in Saskatchewan is no longer negligence, it could be criminal negligence."
In conclusion Mr. Swenson said, “It’s time for the Premier and industry to release all information surrounding H2S gas leaks. There are families whose lives have been impacted forever by sour gas. They, along with everyone in Saskatchewan, deserve to know why and how this happened and why this can never happen again under any government's watch”.
- 30 –
With the October 2nd consultation deadline quickly approaching, the PC Party of Saskatchewan is calling on both Prime Minister Trudeau and Finance Minister Morneau to show some common sense when it comes to the Federal Governments proposed tax changes.
PC Party Leader Rick Swenson said, “As Canadians, we have always prided ourselves on having an income tax system which provided the necessary funds to make our society what it is today.
We've also believed that it is good for people who are risk-takers to succeed and by succeeding, provide employment opportunities for other Canadians. For decades, small businesses and farmers have been managing under the tax rules that are available, allowing them to be innovators, risk-takers, investing in our economy, creating jobs for Canadians, and most importantly, giving them the opportunity to pass on their farms and businesses to the next generation”.
Mr. Swenson went on to say, “however, the reality is that there are those businesses, which are driven to incorporate primarily on advice from their accountants and tax lawyers. I would suggest this is where the government's "one-size-fits-all" approach to tax reform is badly thought out. For example, comparing doctors, dentists, lawyers and accountants where intergenerational transfer is usually not an issue, to farmers and small businesses, is a wrong-headed approach in my view”.
In conclusion Mr. Swenson said, “If the Prime Minister and Minister of Finance truly want fairness in our tax system, then they should have the courage to set their sights on those sectors and categories of people who may have an unfair advantage and not target our farmers and small businesses unfairly.”
The Global Transportation Hub (GTH) has officially now moved from a scandalous Sask Party nightmare to a taxpayer catastrophe and perhaps the greatest financial boondoggle in Saskatchewan’s history. Yesterday’s revelations that the GTH is unable to pay its debts and is generating approximately 90 percent less revenue than budgeted year over year was a surprise to some but not to the PC Party of Saskatchewan.
“Unfortunately for the taxpayers of this province, the PC Party has to say “we told you so” on this one. During the 2016 election, we told the media and voters of Saskatchewan that the GTH along with many P3 projects (including Regina and Saskatoon’s new joint use schools) were paid for with money we couldn’t afford to borrow”, said Rick Swenson, Leader of the PC Party. Mr. Swenson went on to say, “We knew during the election and it’s even more evident today that the Sask Party has been dishonest for years about the true state of Saskatchewan’s finances.”
The PC Party of Saskatchewan is calling for the immediate of release of the appraisal at the centre of GTH land scandal.
“After reading the content of an email between former Minister of the Economy, Bill Boyd, Deputy Minister, Laurie Pushor and the Premier’s Chief of Staff, Joe Donlevy, everyone in the province, especially the five individuals who are now seeking the Premier’s chair, should be disturbed by the creative accounting used to waste millions of taxpayer dollars at the GTH”, said PC Party Leader Rick Swenson.
Mr. Swenson went on to say, “For months the Sask Party Government has been saying that the plan to hugely overpay for GTH land was based on an appraisal that the seller had presented. It is now clear, that the appraisal was used to justify a price that had been already determined, a process that even the Canadian Taxpayer Federation called a “cart before the horse problem” and something that Premier Wall would have been fully aware of. In the email released yesterday, the players involved even admit that the appraisal would likely see “push back” for the methodologies used, making the appraisal’s release even more critical”.
In conclusion Mr. Swenson said “yesterday, former Justice Minister Wyant said that, if he became Premier, he would call for a full inquiry into the GTH land scandal. Why wait? I challenge Mr. Wyant and other Sask Party Leadership candidates to demand that Premier Wall and Justice Minister Morgan initiate an immediate judicial inquiry into the GTH, one with the power to subpoena all records, including the appraisal in question.
Public Trust is critical for any government and in the case of the GTH land scandal, that trust has been broken. An out of province lead, judicial inquiry would be a positive first step in restoring that trust and begin the process of renewal that the Premier is calling for”.
- 30 –
For more information call Rick Swenson at (306) 631-5461
The PC Party of Saskatchewan is asking for the resignation of Premier Wall, after learning the truth concerning the Global Transportation Hubs conflict of interest rulings.
PC Party Leader Rick Swenson stated, “Yesterday was a sad and troubling day for Saskatchewan voters. First, we learned that Former Minister Boyd was facing charges related to his irrigation investment scheme. Then, later we learned even more troubling news, which should concern us all.
For months the Premier and his Ministers have been saying that former Minister Boyd had been cleared by the Conflict of Interest Commissioner of any conflict of interest concerns surrounding the GTH land scandal.
In a February 2016 article, two months before the general election, Mr. Boyd said he approached the Conflict of Interest Commissioner, who ruled in his favour. At that time Premier said he supported Mr. Boyd. In May of 2016, when asked in about the Conflict of Interest ruling, Premier Wall is quoted as saying, “When there were concerns about the individuals involved in the transaction side of the issue, the minister of his own volition went to the Conflict of Interest Commissioner and the Conflict of Interest Commissioner wrote … ‘I can state unequivocally that you, the minister, are not in breach of The Members’ Conflict of Interest Act”.
Mr. Swenson went on to say, “We know now that this was simply not true. The Conflict of Interest Commissioner was never asked to give an opinion related to any specific GTH land purchases, he was only asked by Mr. Boyd for an opinion on his Kindersley farmland arrangement, with one of the men involved in the GTH land deals. It is clear that the voters of Saskatchewan were lied to before the election, impacting their decision on the ballot, and have been lied to again after the election”.
Swenson concluded, “Public Trust is paramount for any government, with his actions and that of his government, Premier Wall has breached that Public Trust and confidence. I am calling upon him to do the honourable thing and resign as Premier immediately”.
- 30 –