Premier Brad Wall’s party introduced legislation defining what “privatize” means, raising concerns about plans to sell the last publicly owned telecom company in Canada: SaskTel.
The legislation sets the stage for Crown corporations to sell up to 49% of the Crowns – which also includes SaskTel – in orders to raise capital. The catch is that the new legislation allows the sale without any interference from the Crown Protections Act, which safeguards the sale of any Crown corporation owned by Crown Investment Corp. The holding company provided a $297.2 million dividend for the government’s revenue fund for 2015–2016.
The Opposition NDP and labour groups claim Wall plans to sell off the Crown corporations. Wall insisted he has no plans to sell them.
“We don’t want to do that. We’ve campaigned against that. We don’t want to change the Crown Corporations Act or the Crowns that are protected therein,” he said. “It prohibits privatization, that Act. We thought we should define it.”
As detailed by the LeaderPost, the legal definition of “privatize” means it could open the door to a 49% sale, but further potential laws or amendments may be needed for those deals to actually go through.
Lawyers, of course, may think otherwise.