Saskatchewan Construction Association lands more private meetings with Wall and cabinet; members donated $148,850 to Sask. Party in 2009
To hear them tell it, the Saskatchewan Construction Association (SCA) is a big wheel in the Saskatchewan Party government decision making machinery.
According to association president Michael Fougere in the organizations 2009 strategic plan, the SCA “has risen in prominence as a consistent and strong provincial voice on issues of the day.” The Wall government “routinely turns to the SCA for advice and information on public policy. Annual meetings with the provincial Cabinet, pre-budget advice to the Minister of Finance, and on-going meetings with Ministers and senior officials provide the SCA with significant access to decision makers. These meetings provide the SCA with tremendous opportunities to help shape public policy.”
The organization boasts in its June 2010 newsletter that on May 31 the SCA board of directors met with Premier Brad Wall and the provincial cabinet. “This yearly meeting provides a great opportunity to lobby the provincial government on issues that directly affect our industry,” it states.
“The SCA definitely has the ear of the government as many of the issues your provincial association has brought forward have been addressed by various ministries.”
Some of the issues discussed were: Maintaining a competitive advantage in personal and corporate income taxes; continuing strong investment in infrastructure; and, of course, thanking the government for moving forward on Bill 80 – a deeply flawed and divisive piece of labour legislation the SCA appeared to help initiate.
In October 2008, association president Michael Fougere sent a letter to then Advanced Education, Employment and Labour (AEEL) Minister Rob Norris calling on the Wall government to “establish abandonment rules” and “end the monopoly of the Building Trades in the construction industry.” Norris did just that on March 10, 2009, when he introduced Bill 80 without first consulting any worker groups, but not before cabinet met privately with the SCA board on November 26, 2008.
Bill 80 was passed without amendment on May 19, 2010, with the Wall government refusing to wait for a report from the legislature committee that spent days holding public hearings on the bill last year.
The May 31 meeting between the two parties appears to have been the second one held in less than a month. According to a briefing note obtained from AEEL through an access to information request, the SCA met with cabinet on May 5, 2010, to discuss Bill 80, as well.
[Note: The above mentioned briefing note is dated August 11, 2009. However, the document makes reference to several events that occurred after that. On July 12, 2010, Ms. Jan Gray, the access coordinator and privacy officer for Advanced Education, Employment and Immigration, advised that the correct date of the briefing note is April 23, 2010.]
Previous to that, SCA President Michael Fougere met with Clare Isman, Deputy Minister, AEEL, and Mike Carr, Associate Deputy Minister, Employee and Employer Services, AEEL, on November 27, 2009, to discuss Bill 80.
The optics of the cozy relationship couldn’t be worse, especially when other organizations with issues just as important to discuss are given the brush-off by the premier’s office.
Terry Parker, business manager of the Saskatchewan Provincial Building and Construction Trades Council, has tried on several occasions to arrange a meeting with Wall but was denied each time.
“We requested the meetings in regard to Bill 80. All the requests were made in writing, his office kept referring us to meet with Norris,” Parker said in an email on July 7, 2010. “We must of made the request at least 3 times over a year and a half.”
It’s the same story over at the Saskatchewan Federation of Labour (SFL), which represents over 95,000 members, from 37 national and international unions.
When asked recently if the labour group has ever met with Wall and cabinet, SFL president Larry Hubich said no.
“The SFL has never had a private meeting with Premier Wall and his cabinet to discuss labour issues. Nor have we ever had a meeting with Wall and his cabinet to discuss any matter,” Hubich said in an email on June 1, 2010.
Hubich wrote to Wall in 2008, on behalf of the SFL executive council, and requested a meeting with him and the cabinet to discuss issues important to labour, but was instead assigned to meet with a caucus committee headed up by Saskatchewan Party MLA Glen Hart.
“That is the only time that the SFL executive council (as an organization) has had a meeting with any of the Sask. Party members, except once Rob Norris came to meet with the SFL executive at our regular meeting,” Hubich said.
Wall can find time to meet with industry associations and business lobby groups, yet refuses to extend the same courtesy to labour groups. Aside from ideology and a deep seated hated for unions, perhaps it has something to do with political contributions.
Last year, corporate donations to the Saskatchewan Party accounted for 51.31 per cent of the $1.69 million that the political party took in. And how much did the party receive from trade unions? Try zero.
Of the $871,294 in corporate donations the Saskatchewan Party received in 2009, it appears that $148,850 (or 17.08 per cent) came from members of the SCA or its affiliates.
The figure was obtained by comparing the businesses listed in the SCA’s 2010 Membership Roster and Buyer’s Guide with the names of corporate donors in the 2009 financial statements filed by the Saskatchewan Party with Elections Saskatchewan.
The membership guide is not limited to private businesses, it also includes several provincial government agencies:
▪ Ministry of Government Services
▪ Enterprise Saskatchewan
▪ Saskatchewan Environment
▪ Saskatchewan Housing Corporation
▪ SGI Canada
There’s something unsettling about publicly funded government institutions belonging to organizations whose main job is to lobby government to adopt policies that serve the interests of its private sector members. Particularly troubling is
Affinity Credit Union, $1,126.80
AGRA Foundations Ltd., $751.20
Alford Floors & Interiors Ltd., $695.80
Alliance Energy Ltd., $4,344.77
All-Rite Plumbing & Heating Ltd., $498.56
Alpine Interior Systems Ltd., $880.22
Alton Tangedal Architect Ltd., $347.90
AMEC Americas Ltd., $1,502.40
Anderson Rental & Paving Ltd., $2,803.41
AODBT Architecture Interior Design, $380.22
Aquifier Distribution Ltd., $1,000.00
Ardel Steel Ltd., $1,395.80
Associated Engineering (Sask.) Ltd., $375.60
Banadyga Eldred Mitchell Partnership Architects, $1,391.60
BMTR Ventures Ltd., $2,000.00
Brandt Tractor Ltd., $2,894.00
Bridge City Electric Sask. Ltd., $2,052.40
Brownlee Beaton Kreke, $1,890.16
Buddwill Enterprises Ltd., $550.00
Business Furnishings (Sask.) Ltd., $1,850.30
Canadian Western Bank, $1,886.23
Carmont Construction Ltd., $300.00
CCR Construction Ltd., $347.90
Central Asphalt & Paving Inc., $375.60
Choice Electrical Supply Ltd., $506.96
Cindercrete Products Ltd., $2,748.24
City of Regina -- Purchasing, $1,913.45
Clark's Supply & Service Ltd., $500.00
Clifton Associates Ltd., $1,391.60
Community Electric Ltd., $1,000.00
Crown Cleaners (1996) Ltd., $969.81
Dominion Construction Company Ltd., $2,894.00
Dura Construction Ltd., $347.90
Elance Steel Fabricating & Erecting Co. Ltd., $1,502.40
Federated Co-operatives Ltd., $1,502.40
Fries Tallman Lumber (1976) Ltd., $1,965.04
Frontier Builders, $365.50
Frontier Peterbilt Sales Ltd., $506.96
G & C Asphalt Services Ltd., $543.28
G & R Mechanical Contracting Inc., $423.23
GE Ground Engineering Ltd., $347.90
Glacier Glass Ltd., $347.90
Globe Excavating, $451.36
Graham Construction and Engineering Inc. (Graham Group Ltd.), $3,543.76
Hamm Construction Ltd., $600.00
Handyman Rental Centre, $1,301.01
Harry J. Jedlic Architect Ltd., $472.54
HDA Engineering Ltd., $1,391.60
Henderson Insurance Inc., $253.48
HVAC Sales Ltd., $1,391.60
Inland Metal Mfg. (1994) Ltd., $497.66
J.A.B.A. Construction Ltd., $453.48
J.C. Kenyon Engineering Inc., $635.34
JBS Engineering Inc., $801.01
JNE Welding Ltd., $2,102.80
KGS Donovan, $1,391.60
KPMG LLP Chartered Accountants, $16,896.07
Lafarge Canada Inc., $347.90
Loraas Disoposal Services Ltd., $8,192.61
Magna Electric Corp., $1,391.60
Maxim Chemical International Ltd., $695.80
McDougall Gauley LLP, $3,308.00
Merit Contractors Association Inc., $3,360.99
Meyers Norris Penny, $4,403.15
Miners Construction Co. Ltd., $1,551.20
North American Rock & Dirt Inc., $801.01
North West Regional College, $339.55
Northern Resources Trucking Limited Partnership, $2,253.60
P. Machibroda Engineering Ltd., $502.34
P3 Architecture Ltd., $1,391.60
Pavement Scientific International Inc., $3,104.42
PCL Construction Management Inc., $3,043.76
Peter Kiewit Sons Co., $2,267.49
Pro AV, $347.90
PSW Architecture & Interior Design Ltd., $695.80
Quorex Construction Ltd., $347.90
Redhead Equipment Ltd., $4,035.03
Resource Management International Inc., $300.00
Ritenburg & Associates Ltd., $1,496.81
Robertson Stromberg Pedersen LLP/
RSP (Saskatoon) Legal Prof. Corp., $4,566.25
Saskatoon Regional Economic Development Authority, $375.60
Saskatoon Wholesale Tire Ltd., $550.00
Saunders Evans Plosker Wotherspoon Architects Inc., $1,391.60
Silvester Glass & Aluminium Products Ltd., $543.28
Site Management Services Regina Inc., $521.85
Stantec Consulting Ltd. (Stantec Architecture Ltd.), $2,009.36
Tech Electric Ltd., $500.00
T.G. Marketing, $300.00
Tierdon Glass Ltd., $869.75
Trane Saskatchewan, $1,186.35
Turnbull Excavating Ltd., $500.00
Victory Companies (Victory Majors Investments Corporation), $375.60
W.F. Botkin Construction Ltd., $2,115.16
Wallace Construction Specialties Ltd., $375.60
Wappel Construction Co. Ltd., $347.90
WaterMark Consulting Ltd., $400.00
Westridge Construction Ltd., $1,891.60