SaskTel Minister Studied Impact of Minority Sale

Dustin Duncan, the Minister responsible for SaskTel, confirmed that he has talked to a large Canadian communications company about Bill 40.

The bill allows private investors to buy up to 49 percent stake in a Crown corporation. This discussion came following an “introductory meeting” between Duncan’s chief of staff and the unnamed company. In a statement, Duncan said:

“I wasn’t in the meeting, but I arrived back at the office before they did leave, so I introduced myself as well and had a brief discussion about Bill 40. They did not raise Bill 40 in the meeting with him. I raised it with them.

This announcement came after SaskTel critic Warren McCall raised concern over Duncan’s statement that SaskTel was not preparing for a potential minority sale. This was later corrected in a letter to the committee.

The Crown corporation is in the early phases of looking into the federal tax implications of a minority sale.

The minister said no offer has be made on a minority stake of SaskTel. He defended Bill 40, saying establishing partnerships will help keep SaskTel competitive. In a statement, Duncan said:

“It wouldn’t really be about selling equity in SaskTel for SaskTel to remain the same size that they are. This is really about looking to grow the company.”

In a statement, McCall argued:

“They can do partnerships as it is. This isn’t about partnerships. This is about selling up to 49 per cent of SaskTel.”

The Saskatchewan government voted in favour of Bill 40 on Wednesday.

[via CBC]