There has been a slight change in the fate of the sole major regional player in Western Canada, SaskTel. Although Premier Brad Wall has previously repeated that he has no plans to sell SaskTel, this might change if the government receives a good offer for the company.
When asked on Wednesday at the Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Association convention about whether the government would sell SaskTel, he said he “would be willing to have the people of Saskatchewan vote in a binding referendum if the deal was good for the province,” reports the Chronicle Herald.
“If we were to get an offer as a result of the offer that’s happened in MTS for a majority of the company and we believed that it was good for the province for any number of reasons, it checked a lot of boxes in terms of keeping jobs in Saskatchewan, the head office here, better coverage, well then I can’t say yes to that deal because we didn’t campaign on that,” Wall said.
“But I don’t think I should say no either without checking with the shareholders.”
Actually, he slightly altered the message he sent earlier last year when he was asked a similar question when Bell publicly announced that it was acquiring MTS in a $3.1 billion deal. The acquisition is still pending approval but is expected to close by the end of the year.
Back then, Wall said that if the government received a good offer for SaskTel and “if it takes care of the jobs question in Regina; if it provides the opportunity for better coverage, we’re at least going to take it to the people.”
Wall said earlier this week that the deficit has grown to $1.2 billion dollars and the government is committed to balancing the budget.