Report Card: Crown Corporations
Their track record:
- Scrapped STC, stranding rural communities, young and marginalized people
- Privatized Saskatchewan Communications Network, the Information Services Corporation and SaskTel’s e-mail and conference call services
- Privatized 39 public liquor stores, replacing good-paying jobs with near-minimum wage jobs
Crown Corporations have played a critical role in the history and economic development of Saskatchewan. Our Crowns have provided accessible and low-cost services to all corners of the province, good-paying jobs to thousands of Saskatchewan residents, spin-off benefits for small businesses, support for local charities and an important source of revenue to the provincial treasury for social programs.
The Sask. Party track record:
- In October 2008, the Sask. Party government institutes its “Saskatchewan First” policy for Crown corporations that forces the sale of out-of-province investments regardless of whether these investments are profitable or not.
- In 2009 SaskTel outsources its e-mail and conference call services to an out-of-province private company.
- In 2010 the government sells the province’s educational television channel, the Saskatchewan Communications Network (SCN), for a paltry $350,000 to private company Bluepoint. Two years later, Bluepoint sells SCN to Rogers Broadcasting for $3 million.
- In 2012 the Sask. Party government privatizes the Information Services Corporation (ISC), the Crown corporation responsible for registration of land titles, corporate registration and vital statistics.
- In 2014, the Sask. Party government makes headlines for contracting out Sask Power’s smart meter project to a Pennsylvania-based corporation. Installation is completed using trucks with Texas license plates. The project is an abysmal failure and results in at least 10 house fires. SaskPower is forced to replace 105,000 meters.
- In 2015 the Sask. Party government announces it will proceed with the privatization of public liquor stores. To date, 40 public liquor stores have been privatized. Out-of-province corporations have reaped the benefits while nearly 200 hundred good-paying jobs throughout the province have been replaced with near-minimum wage jobs.
- In the 2017 provincial budget, the Sask. Party government announces it will shut down the Saskatchewan Transportation Company (STC), the provincial bus service established in 1946. The Crown Corporation is dismantled despite promises by the Sask. Party prior to and during the 2016 provincial election that STC would not be privatized or sold.
- In April 2017 the Sask. Party passes Bill 40 which allows for up to 49% of a Crown corporation to be sold without public consultation, which fuels reports that SaskTel and SGI may be sold. After vocal and ongoing opposition from the NDP and the labour movement, the legislation is repealed in May 2018.
What Saskatchewan needs:
- An immediate halt to the reckless sell-off and dismantling of our remaining Crown corporations.
- Strengthening and expansion of our Crown Corporations, which would include contracting-in previously out-sourced services and removing restrictions on out-of-province investments.
- Re-establishment of a publicly owned and operated provincial bus service to provide accessible and low-cost transportation for residents across the province.