Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Enterprise Saskatchewan: Saskatchewan Party candidate Nancy Heppner says one thing while the party policy book appears to say something different

One might think that a party’s stated policies would surely trump election platforms and promises. With the Saskatchewan Party that does not appear to be the case.

Saskatchewan Party candidate Nancy Heppner is claiming the NDP is “resorting to lies” about her party’s policies.

In Sask. Party would sell STC first: Calvert (StarPhoenix, Oct. 30, 2007) NDP Leader Lorne Calvert raised concerns that the Saskatchewan Transportation Company (STC) would be first in line to be privatized under a Saskatchewan Party government.

“We would keep Crowns public, and STC is part of that,” said Heppner, seeking re-election in Martensville.

According to the article Calvert pointed to past statements by Sask. Party members -- coupled with the party’s plans to create Enterprise Saskatchewan to oversee economic development -- as signals that STC would be privatized.

Calvert said Monday that a review of the Crowns by a “hand-picked” group of people in Enterprise Saskatchewan is cause for concern. He pointed also to a 2004 Saskatchewan Party policy document that said the party would maintain public ownership of SaskPower, SaskTel, SaskEnergy and SGI but didn’t mention others.

“What will Mr. Wall do when Enterprise Saskatchewan recommends the sale of STC?” Calvert asked.

Heppner said the Sask. Party wouldn’t accept advice that went against the party’s stance that the Crowns will remain public, including the Crowns beyond the major utilities.

The problem with Heppner’s comments is that the Saskatchewan Party Policy Book does not appear to say that. Calvert is correct in that it only mentions the four major Crowns. There is absolutely no solid reference to maintaining public ownership of the other Crowns.

Enterprise Saskatchewan is designed to remove barriers to growth. The Saskatchewan Party has pre-determined that the Crowns are a barrier.

The Saskatchewan Party Policy Book states:

“A Saskatchewan Party government will maintain Saskatchewan’s four major utilities (SaskPower, SaskTel, SaskEnergy and SGI) as government-owned Crown corporations and they will play a key role in the implementation of the Enterprise Saskatchewan Plan.” [Page 45]

Enterprise Saskatchewan will develop a systematic and ongoing process to identify and remove barriers to growth in each of our key economic sectors.” [Page 43]

“[N]on-tax barriers that will require the attention and diligence of Enterprise Saskatchewan include direct competition to business from various government agencies and Crowns attempting to diversify from core functions, as well as policies of the Crowns themselves.” [Page 48]

“CC05-1. Keeping the Major Crowns Public – Be it resolved that a Saskatchewan Party government supports The Crown Corporations Public Ownership Act and will retain public ownership of our major Crown corporations as important tools in the provision of utility services to Saskatchewan families and businesses and important partners in the economic development of Saskatchewan.” [Page 11]

“EC05-2. Rethinking Direct Government Investment and Intervention in the Economy – Be it resolved that a Saskatchewan Party government will replace direct government investment and intervention in the economy with…Enterprise Saskatchewan…and…The removal of barriers to private sector investment in Saskatchewan’s key economic sectors.” [Page 13]

“EC05-3. Establishing the Right Economic Development Priorities – Be it resolved that the economic development priorities of a Saskatchewan Party government will be to…Maintain public ownership of Saskatchewan’s major crown utilities focused on the provision of power, telecommunications services, natural gas transmission and distribution and insurance services to Saskatchewan families and businesses at the lowest possible cost.” [Page 13]

Heppner states “Enterprise Saskatchewan would be set up to advise and the ultimate decision would be with the government.”

Under Enterprise Saskatchewan the government “will cede significant control over the formation and implementation of economic development strategies to a broad partnership of economic stakeholders with the full support of the Premier and Executive Council.” [Page 46]

“Rather than taking direction from government, Enterprise Saskatchewan will establish provincial economic development goals and strategies for endorsement by Cabinet and the Legislature. Government departments, agencies and, in some cases, Crown corporations, will then be tasked with implementing these strategies. Enterprise Saskatchewan will also monitor progress and measure results.” [Page 46]

Furthermore, when it comes to the finer details of the plan there appears to be no transparency.

The Saskatchewan Party has not released the complete terms of reference for Enterprise Saskatchewan or clearly explained the process of how its chair, vice-chair and members of the board will be selected.

Party leader Brad Wall has not said whether the Enterprise Saskatchewan board meetings and its agendas will be open to the public.

To date Wall has not supplied a definitive list of the groups that will comprise the Enterprise Saskatchewan board.

When is the Saskatchewan Party going to come clean about its Enterprise Saskatchewan scheme?


At 6:00 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Step one: get elected
Step two: hire staff

What part of building an office do you not understand?


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