EVERYONE LOVES A PARADE… ALMOST
We waited with eager anticipation to participate in our second Exhibition Day Parade, well really our first. We followed the parade last year after the last car,the Regina City Police. We had a tremendous response, many thumbs up, people hollering, “Yes, you are absolutely right, it is Highway Robbery!”
Our 40-year-old manufacturing company, Super Seamless of Canada registered for the Exhibition Parade. We were promoting our book, Highway Robbery: TheRegina Bypass Land Scandal. Thousands of people were impacted by the Regina Bypass when the government approved building an outdated, seriously flawed, dysfunctional, unsafe, $2 billion dollar, developer influenced, dead-end Regina Bypass. People lost their land, homes, businesses, pall park, access, life’s work, health, history and future. Our company, Super Seamless of Canada was consolidating and expanding our manufacturing and metal building products line on land off Tower Road on the south Highway No.1 Service Road beginning
Originally, the Regina Bypass was approved to be built on Tower Road and it could go north and south around the City of Regina. In 2012, developers purchased 640 acres of land along Tower Road. One of these developers, Long Lake Investments president Murad Al-Katib was a director on the Regina Regional Opportunities Corporation (RROC) in 2011 along with Mayor Pat Fiaco and again in 2012 with our current mayor Michael Fougere. Mr. Al-Katib has been chairman of the board of Economic Development Regina (EDR) since. Recently, Murad Al-Katib was quoted in the Leader-Post as the director of education program saying, “Having served on the board of a publicly-listed global agribusiness and various not-for-profits, I joined the IDC-Rotman DEP with a well-rounded perspective on governance. In spite of this, the program experience exceeded all of my expectations. Through breakouts and board simulations designed to mimic real life scenarios, the expert faculty facilitated highly engaging discussions with our group of remarkable participants, allowing us the opportunity to build lasting friendships among ourselves. I recommended the program all board directors, as the return on investment has been tremendous for our organization.”
Our company was not invited to closed door meetings that were attended by developers along Tower Road, the provincial and municipal governments, and the City of Regina. These meetings took place on May 6th – 9th 2013. We discovered at a Public Open Forum that the Regina Bypass had been moved 400 meters east of Tower Road and is now located right down the middle of Long Lake Investments recently purchased 2 miles of property. We spent thousands of hours researching, informing the public, and lobbying the government for accountability on the Regina Bypass on the east end of the city off Tower Road. We hired a lawyer to protect our interests. He took a $100,000 deposit from us, did nothing, left on a two month holiday shortly after we retained him. He did however give us 2 days notice. When he returned from holiday he finally looked into the comprehensive information that we provided him. Once he realized that we knew a lot and had plenty of information he should have surmised that we might actually have been successful in an action against the government. Instead of using this information to properly develop our case, he took our money and then withdrew from the case without providing any real advice on how to proceed. When we complained to the Law Society, they dismissed his actions as not breaching the Code of Professional Conduct; we are currently appealing this decision.
6 years have passed since our property was bulldozed through only four days after our land was expropriated. Thousands of dollars of building products were destroyed, we had dirt dumped on our driveway, the access to our property was cut off, and were forced to sign a Release and Settlement Agreement before the Bypass Builder would even build us a driveway to access to our property. We were incensed and therefore refused to sign. We have had the news media refuse to provide us coverage, our local newspapers have refused to print our letters to the editor, and we have been refused to be on the John Gormley Talk Show. We have also been threatened by the former Premier of Saskatchewan, assaulted by the Deputy Mayor of White City, and discredited by the Mayor of that same community. Our group has been banned from the Cathedral Village Festival, the Santa Clause Parade (we were told our Grinch who Stole Christmas entry was not “Christmas-ey” enough), were thrown out of the Saskatoon Show and Shine Car Show and now we were told minutes before it began that we couldn’t be in the Exhibition Parade.
The Regina Exhibition Association Parade Board board said we were a protest and it was a family parade. We tried to negotiate with the Parade Director as we were promoting our book, Highway Robbery: the Regina Bypass Land Scandal. She said that from our deckled car it did not appear that we were promoting a book. Apparently our decaled P3 Cruiser was a problem. The organizers must have thought it would start a riot(?)
We do realize that the theme of our message contrasts that of the exhibition parade which is one of celebration. Our frustration has always been our difficulty in finding a legitimate platform to communicate our message to the general public. As important as we feel this message is, we have been sanctioned by most of the media the options that remain have been limited.
We have been forced to try whatever legal methods we can to share our concerns on the public stage. Our rights and freedoms give us the right o be on any public roadway. To do so when there is going to be a large concentration of citizens in one area is very different than just driving our highly visible decalled vehicle down the road on any given workday. We have been doing that for years and it has not produced the awareness on a large scale that is needed. The opportunity to do so by joining the parade was hard to resist.
We get it though. What we are ‘promoting’ is not a subject for celebration. it is a subject for public awareness and concern. The accountability of our elected officials and those in charge of the public purse has been abandoned and that causes us to wonder at times : Are we being targeted to prevent our message from gaining support?
An encouraging note however was that after we were left in an empty parking lot and being threatened that law enforcement would show up to prevent us from participating in the parade, we drove out onto Albert Street and ended up at the end of the parade route. We were gratified to received high fives, thumbs up and cheers of encouragement from others participating in the parade and many others along the parade route. It causes us to think that maybe, just maybe, whatever we have been saying in whatever venue we could find to say it, is being heard by more people as time goes on.
At the risk of seeming repetitive we will repeat our issues for the benefit of those who may be reading our story here for the first time.
It is obvious that there are higher powers that do not want the public to know that we have been duped by our government sanctioning the construction of an overpriced $2 billion dollar Bypass with critical aspects either put in the wrong place to accommodate existing traffic or missing critical components entirely. In the process, they have shown extreme favoritism to some while demonstrating total disregard for the impact of the project on others. When we total up the costs for this project, they exceed that of the Coquihalla Highway which is arguably one of the most challenging engineering feats in road building history. Does it make sense that our bypass which is less than 1/3 the length of the Coquihalla, should cost even more? Our questions remain:
- Why did the cost of the Regina Bypass balloon from $400 million to now over $2 billion dollars?
- Why did the government hire Vinci, a scandal ridden company from Europe to build the Regina Bypass?
- Why did very few Saskatchewan road and bridge builders get work from the Regina Bypass?
- Why doesn’t the Regina Bypass go north around the city to the commercial industrial business district that would have been fully functional in rerouting truck traffic which was the original goal of the Regina Bypass?
- Why did the RCMP not fully investigate the GTH Land Scandal where developers made $11 million dollars flipping land?
- Why did the RCMP say that they spent 7500 hours investigating, relied on the information freely provided to them and did not meet the threshold to subpoena evidence and closed the file on the entire Regina Bypass Land Scandal?
- Why didn’t the RCMP subpoena the farming records from Bill Boyd who rents land from Robert Taupauff who made $6 million dollars flipping land without going through land titles at the GTH?
- Why did Premier Brad Wall sign and order in council to pay $21 million dollars for 204 acres of land, four times more land than was needed for the Regina Bypass at 20 times the rate that everyone else in the area is getting for their land?
- Why didn’t the government purchase the 54 acres needed for the Regina Bypass from the Order of Nun’s and pay them the same that everyone else in the area was getting between 5,000- 6,000 an acre for a total of $315,000? If the Nun’s didn’t agree then the government could have expropriated the land like they did with many other land owners?
- Why didn’t the Regina Bypass go out to Gravel Pit Road just outside the city? Does a Sask. Party MLA’s family own land along Gravel Pit Road and have plans for a commercial development that would have been impacted?
- Why did the government sell 7.4 acres to a developer Maurie Gwyn off Highway No. 48 and No.1 to put up a fence and a berm for $20,000 an acre in 2011 and then three years later bought back 2.4 acres and paid $400,000 a acres when others in the area are getting between $15,000 and $27,000 an acre?
- Why were developers paid up to 80 times more for their land than long term land, home, and business owners along the Regina Bypass route?
- Why wasn’t everyone paid the same, if it was $5,000 an acre or $400,000 an acre, everyone should have received the same amount. How is it that the developer’s dirt is worth 80 times more?
- Why did former Premier Brad Wall abruptly retire from political life just as the GTH Land Scandal was beginning to come to light? And why did two of his closed-door, backroom partners-in-planning, former MLA’s Bill Boyd and Kevin Doherty, also mosey on down that same hideaway retirement trial?
- How is it that 25-years ago we seen the Grant Devine million dollar scandal that resulted in 13 government MLA’s charged criminally. Brad Wall, Bill Boyd and Kevin Doherty were all members of the Grant Devine government and here we are today with a $2 billion dollar scandal and no one is charged?
- Why is the government trying to silence us?
- Why isn’t the media doing their jobs?
- Why aren’t the opposition parties pushing hard and talking about the Regina Bypass?
- Once more, we were kicked out of a public parade on a public street. It becomes increasingly difficult not to wonder at times if we are being deliberately targeted. We realize that for many people this type of confrontation of authority is stressful and somewhat unusual for most of us. We sadly tend to accept that politicians and their ilk are simply disingenuous by nature. We believe that our rights to information and the resultant accountability have been seriously interfered with. Democratic processes have been hijacked and human rights have been ignored. It is a shame that we have gone through all that we have and the government is doing nothing to listen to our story or show any interest in it. It would appear that they think that by ignoring us we will go away. To many it would also appear that those in charge in the present government have muzzled any attempt to shed light on this controversy.
We will go on record as stating that once we get proper answers to our questions and see the appropriate action taken to deal with those who have been responsible for raiding the public purse along with restitution made to those who have been treated unfairly, we will be happy to close the book on this fiasco of mismanagement and malfeasance on the part of our elected officials.
It is sad to see how government waste can be play such a large part in the current economic recession. The PST tax that was imposed on the construction and service industries has left many businesses fighting for their lives. The story Highway Robbery: the Regina Bypass Land Scandal will tell the detailed history of what we have learned over the last 6 years that we have been fighting for our lives. It has left our company a shell of it could have been. The health of the principals in our business has been impacted. We mourn the loss of the potential employment of the hundreds of local workers and the many more who would have benefited nationally and internationally from the products our proprietary manufacturing process would have been supplied to the construction industry. However, here we are today with our future now on the line.
We offered our business to Brad Wall before he cut and ran. He could have helped to rebuild our business to the point where he could have seen our technology selling across North America and putting Saskatchewan on the map. We had the only insulated steel siding product in North America and still have all the requisite components to produce it. Unfortunately thanks to the New Regina Bypass fiasco, our entire operation has been handcuffed. We do not know the future of our company or how long we will continue given the present circumstances, but we do know that the people of Saskatchewan deserve better government. They also deserve to know the truth behind the
decisions made by our government. What we have discovered makes them look like puppets to certain power brokers and influential developers. N o consideration is given to those who may also represent economic growth but who are not close confidants, do not share their political agendas or contribute vast sums of money to their campaigns.
The public needs to stand up and demand better. We need everyone to write the government, call in, and pressure them to come clean. We can all make a difference.
We see scandals all over the world, Venezuela, Brazil, Columbia, all across Europe and in Canada. In Canada you say? I thought we had a democratic society, human rights and government accountability and transparency, so what happened? We have provincial scandals with the Regina Bypass, we have the federal scandal with SNC-Lavalin. The question is, who in government is doing anything about it? People have had enough with the lack of accountability and transparency in government.
We need a Public Inquiry into the Regina Bypass Land Scandal. Join us to make Saskatchewan accountable again. We need to good, men, women and children of our province to stand up and demand better, to rally together to make our province a better place and to hold our elected officials to account.
The story in our upcoming book: ‘Highway Robbery: the Regina Bypass Land Scandal” will be a tell all about what we know, what happened to our family, our company, our neighbors and the people of Saskatchewan. This was and remains arguably the biggest scandal in Saskatchewan’s history.
“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”