Attn: Premier Scott Moe
We have written this letter to communicate our great concerns surrounding the circumstances of the Highway No. 1 bypass public works project. As the largest publicly funded infrastructure project in Saskatchewan's 113 year history, it is vitally important that the public has access to information that we feel should be discussed.
The estimated cost of the Regina Bypass project has soared from $63 Million in 2007, to $400 Million in 2012, then $800 Million in 2013 and $1.88 Billion in 2015. The actual expenditure, including land acquisition costs, is now expected to exceed $2 Billion Dollars. The primary objective of the Regina Highway No.1 Bypass was to provide safe alternative driving routes around the City of Regina for through travelers especially for heavy transport trucks in order to reduce dangerous traffic congestion along Victo- ria Avenue East and Highway No.1 East. Many of the plans that were originally brought forward in the early stages of this P3 project would have achieved this fundamental goal--and for far less than $2 Billion Dollars.
Our provincial government has tried to justify these exponential cost increases by stating that the scope of the Regina Bypass has greatly expanded over the past 10 years. Numerous Sask. Party spokespeople have proclaimed, over and over again, that every aspect of this enormous endeavor "has been studied to death." We are being told we should feel confident in the government's visionary decision to enter into this P3 deal since the work is guaranteed for 30 years.
This prophesy is already under scrutiny. This past summer, our local media reported that a vital systems interchange on the eastern edge of the city is already settling, shifting and sinking. Later on in September of this year, one of the roundabout interchanges just outside of Balgonie was the scene of yet another semi-trailer truck that got severely wedged between the roundabout's middle and outer curbs. To make this roundabout situation even worse, the Regina Bypass contractor did not respond to the call. This forced our provincial Department of Highways' emergency personnel to enter the fray and alleviate the mishap that tied up traffic and closed down the overpass for 12 hours.
We question the wisdom of those who vetted the design and the selection of a French contractor who was awarded the contract for the construction of what appears to be a severely flawed portion of this major artery in our province.
The Trans-Canada Highway No.1 Regina Bypass is being operated as a P3 (Public-Private Partnership) collaborative arrangement that was created to finance the construction of what many believe to be an overly complex and unnecessarily expensive design. This collaborative project while partially funded by the federal and provincial governments is in danger of becoming a serious liability to the next generation of Saskatchewan taxpayers, let alone those who haven't even been born yet.
While it's unrealistic to put that genie back in the bottle, there have been a number of occurances taking place long before the first shovel of dirt was turned. These things which we believe, demand inspection and accountability. It's one thing to be forced to accept that which now exists, but it's an entirely different thing to be forced to accept the way in which this project was implemented. That is the focus of our concern, and we believe should also be the concern of those who have been elected to protect the Sask. taxpayer's interests.
Our truth-finding journey began when we suspected that our consolidation and international expansion plans for our 35-year-old building products manufacturing business, Super Seamless of Canada, would be negatively impacted when the blueprints for that critical interchange were revised in mid-2013. That abrupt and contentious shift 400 meters east of Tower Road placed our industrial land holdings directly in the cross hairs of the governmental land grabbers. When the dust raised by the backhoes and bulldozers of the ruthless expropriators had settled, we saw just how much destruction was done to our road accesses, driveway, storage buildings and raw materials; and we knew immediately that our business operations had been irreparably damaged. But, at least the provincial government’s special private sector friends, whose recently acquired tracts of land are adjacent to our long-held property, have tremendously benefited from this public works money pit—an ill-advised venture that has been the primary reason why the government has burdened the people of Saskatchewan with economy-crippling deficit budgets.
Over the last four years we have sent dozens of letters to the governing Saskatchewan Party and to the opposition New Democratic Party. We have asked both political parties hundreds of probing questions, and we are still waiting for straight, honest answers to help shed some light on this very dark and incomprehensible project. The Sask. Party insists that it was the Ministry of Highways’ engineers who decided where the Highway No.1 Regina Bypass would ultimately be constructed. Subsequently, we interviewed a number of senior Highways' engineers who told us they did not agree with the positioning of some of the Regina Bypass's terminals and interchanges; and that many of the final routing decisions were undeniably influenced by certain land developers and speculators.
Before their sudden and completely unexpected early retirements from public service, we had hoped former Premier Brad Wall and former Finance Minister Kevin Doherty would have called for a Judicial Public Inquiry and a Forensic Audit into all of the mysterious planning, re-planning and construction phases of the Regina Bypass, even if only for the sake of their legacies.
By contrast, in the years following their defeat in the 1991 Saskatchewan general election, 14 of former Premier Grant Devine's Progressive Conservative MLAs and two caucus workers were convicted of fraud and breach of trust for illegally diverting just shy of a million dollars from government allowances into a phony expense-claim scam. It now appears that political players are again involved in an atrocious scandal, only this time $2 Billion Dollars of taxpayer funds are at play. The wasteful spending resulting from suspect decisions made throughout every stage of this astonishing publicly funded infrastructure project should be reason enough for the provincial government and the RCMP to conduct further investigations.
Armed with all the scandalous information that we have uncovered and compiled over the past years, we have decided to author a book--Highway Robbery: The Regina Bypass Land Scandal- so that all the sordid and most probably indictable plots and schemes at the secretive core of this $2 Billion Dollar infrastructure sinkhole will be rightfully exposed. Two of our contributors have access to an Internet marketing network that is linked to more than 18,000 sales outlets spread across 78 countries. When the particulars of our upcoming publication are posted onto their social media sites many millions of other concerned citizens around the world will be introduced to what we believe are the most serious criminal offences that have ever been committed by Saskatchewan politicians.
Over the last few years we have met with two officers at your RCMP “F” Division headquarters: Corporal F. C. Yeager (Integrated Organized Crime South) and Sergeant M. Wilson (Integrated Organized Crime South – Economic Crime). We presented them with three binders containing, in our opinion, overwhelming evidence which prove beyond a reasonable doubt that certain land developers and speculators operating next to the Highway No.1 Southeast Regina Bypass were given the green light to reposition pivotal sections of those roadways; thereby corrupting a major public works project for their own selfish profiteering purposes.
Since early 2016, Manitoba Justice Attorneys and members of the Saskatchewan RCMP Federal Criminal Operations Division had been co-investigating a bewildering series of land purchases that occurred alongside the West Regina Bypass and the Global Transportation Hub (GTH). Former Sask. Party MLA Bill Boyd, another politician who recently decided to “retire” early from public service, appeared to have been involved in a highly illegal land buy-sell-and-quick-flip ploy that enriched a few of his business associates with excessive sums of taxpayer funds. Geoff Leo, an intrepid CBC Saskatchewan iTeam investigative journalist, originally broke the story of all the GTH’s murky land ownership manipulations back in February, 2016.
We were supremely confident these public and private sector players would be charged, tried and convicted of a number of criminal felonies. However, on the afternoon of July 25, 2018, the Saskatchewan RCMP Federal Criminal Operations Division declared they had finally completed their investigation into the abominable land transactions that had gone down next to the GTH. Consequently, the RCMP’s spokesperson announced they would not be criminally charging anyone whatsoever in this regard.
This discouraging outcome substantially undermined our confidence in federal law enforcement investigative procedures. We predict this incredibly divisive no-charge decision is destined to be acknowledged in Canadian political science textbooks as a colossal miscarriage of justice.
The RCMP spokesperson, Superintendent Paul Segency, stated that “approximately 7,500 person-hours were devoted to the file” and that “thousands of documents were examined.” But we need to respectively ask: Just exactly what were the sources of the evidence they had sorted through during their two-and-a-half years of devoted investigations? Did they perhaps inadvertently overlook--or possibly misinterpret--the most damning pieces of evidence? Or, is there any chance they simply didn’t ask for or stumble upon the real condemning documents--such as the more incriminating bank statements of their prime suspects? Through our HighwayRobbery.com team’s extensive research and targeted interviews it was confirmed to us that the deliberately confusing circumstances behind the West Regina Bypass-GTH land dealings were unquestionably criminal in nature. The entangled financial arrangements between certain provincial public servants, GTH administrators, Alberta businessman Robert Tappauf and Regina businessman Anthony Marquart seemed to be so deeply mired in such obvious acts of fraud, collusion and conflict of interest.
Then, Superintendent Paul Segency read these jaw-dropping statements: “All of the documents the RCMP examined were freely provided to investigators by the holding parties” and “Police never got to the point where investigators reached the ‘threshold’ to execute any search warrants.” Now, are we expected to naively believe that those individuals who were potentially facing lengthy jail sentences would ever freely hand over the documents that would ensure their incarcerations? The Saskatchewan RCMP may have concluded their involvement in these vexing matters, but their no-search-warrants-executed disclosure clearly highlights the need to go above and beyond their devoted efforts. An in-depth Judicial Public Inquiry and Forensic Audit are still appropriate. Too many concerned citizens feel there are so many buried truths that absolutely must be brought to the surface and hauled before other investigative agencies that are mandated to guard the public purse from unlawful and unscrupulous deceivers.
The provincial government’s top spin doctors must have recently reintroduced a couple of their leading talking-suits to the timeless political strategies of diversion, deflection and distraction in order to prepare them for their appointed roles as the party’s obedient defenders. Following the RCMP’s polarizing announcement, Sask. Party MLA Steven Bonk and Attorney General/Minister of Justice Don Morgan stepped out from behind the government’s Wall-of-Silence-and-Secrets to execute their well-rehearsed performances in front of the local media. As we had anticipated, both agreed that the RCMP undoubtedly reached the right decision and that they were certain the investigations were handled ethically and efficiently. True to the classic diversion-deflection-distraction tactics, MLA Bonk and Attorney General Morgan only addressed the tip of their (redacted) iceberg. MLA Bonk conceded, “There were some operational issues with assembling land, but we have been very open and transparent and learned from our mistakes.” Attorney General Morgan explained, “The provincial auditor made recommendations that were critical of the government as to how the land was acquired, when it wasn’t acquired, when it should have been acquired; and we accept those recommendations and we also accept that the government did not do a good job of assembling the land and acquiring it when they should have.”
After suffering through the incredulous statements which were so dutifully delivered by MLA Bonk and Attorney General Morgan, our resolve was instantly restored by Geoff Leo’s Aug. 9, 2018 article titled: 20 Unanswered Questions About the GTH Land Deal. Mr. Leo’s scathing commentary gallantly re-examined the numerous facts and details that should have provided RCMP investigators with ample clues that should have resulted in a number of criminal charges. At least Mr. Leo’s revealing work has helped to broaden and amplify the call for a Judicial Public Inquiry and a Forensic Audit. The rallying calls have been led by many public servants who are paid with taxpayer funds to protect taxpayer funds from insatiable scammers and swindlers. Todd MacKay, prairie director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, and NDP MLAs Cathy Sproule, Nicole Sarauer and Trent Wotherspoon have been especially vocal regarding the need to expand and intensify the investigative probes.
Also, we really need to know: Who reeled in and reprogrammed MLA Gordon Wyant, the one-time straight talking legislator who confidently entered the Sask. Party leadership race late last summer? We are referring to the fellow who routinely told his campaign rally attendees that “he would hold a public inquiry on the GTH land deals no matter what the RCMP investigation concluded” because “there are unanswered questions for me.” During an early September 2017 interview with CBC Mr. Wyant emphatically stated: “I’m a citizen of this province whether I’m a member of government or not. There are some troubling things about this and at the end of the day we need to clear the air so that people are made comfortable with what happened. If charges aren’t preferred then there’s going to be a report that’s tendered to the director of public prosecutions which isn’t going to be made public and that doesn’t do anything to clear the air. We need to shine a very, very bright light on this and the only way to do that is to give the commissioner the power that he needs not only to compel witnesses and to compel documents and testimony but to make some findings so that we can put this whole thing behind us as a party.”
Then, on November 17 of last year, Mr. Wyant reconfirmed to the crowd gathered in Regina’s Ramada Plaza Hotel that he would most definitely push for a comprehensive public inquiry because there was such “a cloud of suspicion over the government and the party.” Near the end of that rally he quietly approached myself and one of my colleagues and promised he would schedule a private meeting to further discuss his plans for a future public inquiry. Not surprisingly, our follow-up emails and letters to Mr. Wyant were never acknowledged and/or never received a response. Within a July 26, 2018 CBC news article titled, Deputy Premier Backs Away From Campaign Call for GTH Inquiry Following RCMP Probe, Geoff Leo reported: “Gord Wyant says he supports the government’s position to move on, despite what he promised during the leadership bid. Wyant would not repeat that strident call for a detailed public review of the controversial deals, instead saying that he is satisfied with the RCMP investigation.” Is there any chance our missing-in-action MLA was taken aside by the Sask. Party’s damage control specialists and sternly told that he needed to fall in line and to start marching to their protectionist orders because his propensity to freely speak his mind and to freely state his personal opinions could lead to a breach in their Wall-of-Silence-and-Secrets? Is there any chance whatsoever that his recent Deputy Premier and Minister of Education appointments were granted in exchange for his pledge to act as just another muzzled and mind-controlled political drone?
It is important to note that Mr. Leo and his fellow CBC journalists report for a highly reputable and respected news agency, and therefore they simply would not release any story unless they were 99.9% certain of the validity of their research and sources. They are sworn to write every commentary as impartial, unbiased and objective practitioners of their trade. Also, the Office of the Ombudsman constantly reviews and judges the journalistic integrity of all public news reporters.
Besides MLA Bonk and Attorney General Morgan, a few other Sask. Party officials have admitted that the public purse is a little lighter because of a couple operational issues and timing oversights that their government had carelessly committed. But we think they should be addressing the agonizing likelihood that at least a billion dollars were shamefully wasted on the bloated, budget-busting Regina Bypass; and we think they should also be addressing the sneaking suspicion that countless millions of our freely contributed tax dollars were illicitly utilized to gratify the greedy souls of some of their big business confidantes. To this day, no one representing any level of government or any of their (alleged) corporate raider bosses have expressed any remorse or offered any apologies for the grievous harm their (alleged) callous actions inflicted upon so many good people who were living and working alongside the Regina Bypass’s “Paths of Destruction.” But hey, it took 5 years before the walls finally came tumbling down on 16 of former Premier Grant Devine’s political comrades—who were ultimately convicted of economic crimes that only siphoned off about a million dollars of public funds. So hey, our hope springs eternal.
We have carefully studied every section of the Code of Ethical Conduct For Members of the Legislative Assembly; and we are certain the majority of our elected public servants faithfully adhere to the guidelines presented within that official government document. However, if even just a handful of rogue, self-serving provincial politicians, who are in any way connected to the Regina Bypass debacle, have dishonored their pledge of “commitment to the highest ethical standards” and have entered into secretive pacts with private business persons to willfully defraud the people of Saskatchewan, those nefarious individuals must be identified and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
Premier Scott Moe, we represent a united (and rapidly growing) group of concerned taxpayers who believe every politician must equally serve all of their constituents with real and honest accountability and transparency; and who believe our political leaders must never, ever be allowed to operate outside the boundaries of our constitutionally established legal systems. We are hoping you might offer us guidance as to what steps are required to initiate a Judicial Public Inquiry and a Forensic Audit into all of the Regina Bypass’s suspect proceedings--which appear to have been directed (and dictated) by a closed-door circle of provincial government and private enterprise conspirators.
In addition to contacting you, we have also been in contact with Manitoba Justice’s Executive Director Michele Jules and Attorney General David Wright; with Canada’s Prime Minister, the Right Honorable Justin Trudeau; with Canada’s Governor General, Her Excellency Julie Payette; with Saskatchewan’s Lieutenant Governor, His Honor W. Thomas Molloy; with the Assistant Commissioner Curtis Zablocki Saskatchewan RCMP “F” Division ; with the Commissioner of the RCMP, Brenda Lucki; and with Her Royal Highness, Queen Elizabeth II.
Any assistance you can provide to us would be greatly appreciated.
A closing quote from English philosopher, jurist and social reformer, jeremy Bentham (b. February 15, 1748 – d. June 6, 1832): "Secrecy, being an instrument of conspiracy, ought never to be the system of a regular government."
Your friends at Highway Robbery: The Regina Bypass Scandal Inc.