WHERE, WHEN AND WHY DID THEY BURY THEIR MORAL COMPASSES?
A few weeks ago one of our Highwayrobbery.org contributors forwarded this article to us; and we decided to have it printed in order to remind readers of the Sask. Party’s desperate and deliberate efforts to stifle the freedom of speech rights of their toe-the-line elected members:
On Thursday, April 4th, a vote was conducted within the Saskatchewan Legislature regarding whether or not a Public Inquiry would be launched into the epically mismanaged Global Transportation Hub (GTH) venture. A venture that is to date, more than $40 million dollars in debt. Predictably, all 13 members of the NDP caucus voted for a Public Inquiry; and, eventually, all 48 members of the Sask. Party caucus voted against a Public Inquiry.
Initially, Sask. Party MLA Tina Beaudry-Mellor blurted out “Yes” when it was her turn to verbally register her vote. Her affirmative response instantly shocked and surprised every attending MLA. Mere seconds later, once Ms. Beaudry-Mellor stated she had meant to say “No” and had apologized for her gaff, the collective gasps of disbelief were replaced with light-hearted teasing from both sides of the aisle. (side not: perhaps our elected legislators should limit their Question Period levity whenever serious matters, which have contributed to recessionary hardships, are being addressed.)
Obviously, during that particular session, Ms. Beaudry-Mellor wasn’t 100% focused on her solemn responsibility to continue to keep the provincial government’s many secretive, and some might even say deceitful “special” arrangements with their close private enterprise ‘supporters’, from being unearthed and exposed to the citizens of Saskatchewan. Did a split-second pang of guilt lead to a Freudian slip of her tongue? Perhaps she experienced a flashback to her days on the campaign trail, when in an attempt to win the party’s leadership race after the unexpected resignation of Premier Brad Wall.
When Mr. Wall announced he would be ‘retiring’ early from public service, a veteran CTV News Regina reporter later reminded viewers that some of the leadership candidates– including Ms. Beaudry-Mellor, had mentioned repeatedly that the GTH’s baffling circumstances and proceedings needed to be thoroughly investigated. The Honorable Gordon Wyant was also one of those leadership hopefuls who routinely declared that the GTH land buying and selling transactions should be more deeply investigated due to the ‘cloud of suspicion over the government and the party.”
Nevertheless, in early February of 2018 Scott Moe was handed the Sask. Party’s tarnished crown and dictatorial scepter as the newly anointed political ruler of our vast and diverse province. Shortly after his coronation, a few of his former leadership opponents were invited into the provincial cabinet, including Mr. Gordon Wyant (currently our Deputy Premier and Minister of Education) and Ms. Tina Beaudry-Mellor (currently our Minister of Advanced Education).
The fact that these two (now highly placed) individuals have refused to re-address their concern over the GTH controversy that were once their solemn campaign promises, merely confirms the suspicion of many and the continuing need for a Public Inquiry.
It would appear that if one wishes to remain a member of our present government’s closed-door inner circle, they must first lose their public service morals and ethics. It seems they have all pledged to fiercely defend the party’s position to erect a ‘wall of silence’ surrounding this issue. One is left no choice but to speculate as to what exactly are they so committed to keeping the public from learning? Is it possible that many of the activities surrounding this project might even have criminal implications? The present position of these elected officials precludes any such dialogue. The optics are very bad.
Mr. Wyant occasionally reappears on the public stage to recite what appear to be well-rehearsed lines into media microphones. Whenever his party’s ill-advised policies and decisions incite angry backlashes from some of Saskatchewan’s marginalized citizens he seems to get tasked with the unenviable duty of attempting to cool the heat.
A recent example of the Sask. Party’s brush fired that were ignited by their 2019-20 budget announcements, was that the funding for Regina’s Cornwall Alternative School would be terminated. The heat of that fire was then intensified and spread by the concerted efforts of many stakeholders to salvage this much-needed institution. opposition MLA’s, school board members, current and former students, teachers, and administrators all voiced their grave concerns over the impending closure of this critically needed school. As a result, the provincial government ultimately reversed their planned funding cut.
Wearing his Minister of Education hat, Mr. Wyant admitted that he “needs to ask more questions and have more conversations with both public and Catholic school divisions.” Mr. Wyant also stated; “I make decisions based on the information that comes to me, and I think that’s a bit of a failing on my part,- that I didn’t reach out, -that I didn’t ask enough questions when it came to the decision that we made in the budget.”
We want our readers to note that on the evening of Nov.17, 2017 during Mr. Wyant’s Sask. Party leadership run, our colleagues reached out to him after his stump speech inside Regina’s Ramada Plaza hotel. They were most willing to have him ask them questions, to provide him with extensive information and to engage with him in conversation regarding his government’s $2 billion dollar-plus Regina Trans-Canada Highway No.1 Bypass. After these encounters, Mr. Wyant is on record as taking a position of concern and promising to shine a very bright light on the activities surrounding this project. Obviously, something has changed. He seems to have developed a very selective memory which does not include his former promises.
Judging by his prompt response to the Cornwall Alternative School dust-up, it seems the optimal way to remind Mr. Wyant of his forgotten promise to launch a Public Inquiry into the confounding aspects of the GTH and to ‘put his feeet to the fire’ so to speak.
We contend that this 500% over-budget infrastructure project has directly or indirectly impacted many tax-paying citizens. It continues to be a major factor contributing to fiscal pressure on our provinces’ operational budgets. We see continual cuts to many essential services and programs as a result.
Over the last few years, a number of billboards have appeared throughout Regina that has emphatically asked all Sask. Party MLA’s: “WHERE DID THE MONEY GO?”
Isn’t it about time Public Inquiry and forensic Audit, investigators formally ask all Sask. Party MLAs, along with their administrative staff and ministerial assistants, this very same question?
A cynical position emerges with many who have suffered as a result. They see the new Regina Bypass as an incredibly dysfunctional, confusing, unsafe, built in all the wrong places for all the wrong reasons, recession-causing, developer-influenced boondoggle which has tremendously benefited only a handful of the government’s private-sector supporters at the expense of the rest of us. In our view, that is anyting but democratic. We demand explanations. After all, we’re the ones on the hook for the costs!