Premier backtracks on Crown privatization talks

By Sarah Mills/CJME News Staff
August 30, 2017 - 5:07pm

The Saskatchewan government is backtracking on its plans for the Crown corporations.

In the spring, it passed Bill 40, which defined what privatization meant and would allow for the sale of up to 49 per cent of the crowns without a referendum.

The government was in very early preliminary talks for both SaskTel and SGI to enter into partnerships with other entities.

It was believed such opportunities would help strengthen the crowns and offer greater consumer choice.

But having heard from MLAs and voters this summer, Premier Brad Wall now sees things differently.

“If Saskatchewan people who own these Crown corporations feel that any change of ownership, at all, constitutes privatization, we have to consider that,” Wall told reporters Wednesday.

While Wall believed partnerships are still worthwhile, he maintains there are other issues that need to be addressed.

“Right now, the priority for SaskTel is to improve coverage for this province and you will see that addressed in the fall,” Wall added.

It isn’t clear just how the Crown issue will be addressed, but rescinding Bill 40 is a possibility.

As well it could be put into law that any change to a Crown requires a province-wide referendum.

The fall session of the legislature begins in late October.

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