Saturday, January 03, 2009

Executive Council denies access to Premier Brad Wall’s speeches to the Enterprise Saskatchewan board of directors and sector team chairs

The Saskatchewan Party’s 2007 election promise to provide “more transparency in Government” received yet another blow recently when the Ministry of Executive Council refused to release copies of speeches given last year by Premier Brad Wall to the Enterprise Saskatchewan board of director’s and sector team chairs.

Enterprise Saskatchewan is the Wall government’s alleged independent, arms length economic development agency.

Wall addressed the Enterprise Saskatchewan board at its inaugural meeting held Mar. 31, 2008, at the Legislative Building in Regina. According to the agency’s Sept. 2008 progress report, Wall “stressed the importance of its work to the province’s growth agenda” and “asked the ES Board to oversee three priorities during the coming months.” These include: closing the labour supply and demand gap, identifying uranium value-added opportunities, and hosting a New West Summit in Saskatchewan in 2009.

On Nov. 18, 2008, the government officially launched Enterprise Saskatchewan’s 18 sector teams that are specifically dedicated to an economic sector of the Saskatchewan economy.

The sector teams are accountable for identifying and reporting on the barriers to growth, making recommendations to remove barriers, prescribing prioritized action, and reporting on the progress on an annual basis.

Recommendations, prescribed actions, and progress reports are to be provided through the chairperson to the Enterprise Saskatchewan board and its CEO for consideration, review, and public reporting. Policy recommendations endorsed by the board will be submitted to Cabinet and the legislature for consideration and endorsement.

The Enterprise Saskatchewan board and sector team meetings are closed to the public.

The government’s news release indicates that the sector team chairs met with Premier Wall, along with the Enterprise Saskatchewan Board for the first time on Nov. 18 at a luncheon at the Legislative Building in Regina.

An access to information request was submitted to Executive Council in Nov. 2008 for copies of any notes, speeches or addresses given by Wall to the Enterprise Saskatchewan board and sector team chairs.

The ministry’s Dec. 23, 2008, response advised that access to the records was being denied “as these records could reasonably be expected to disclose consultations or deliberations involving officers or employees of a government institution and a member of the Executive Council.”

Apparently, Saskatchewan taxpayers are expected to foot the bill for the board and sector teams work, but have no right to know what their task master, the premier, says to them.


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