Regina, SK — The Saskatchewan government says it plans to get out of direct involvement with its Crown inland transportation facility known as the GTH.
The Global Transportation Hub in Regina was created in 2009 and has 12 business clients and net assets of $17.9 million.
A GTH land deal in 2015 was investigated by the RCMP after allegations that some property was bought at a higher rate than its value and was later sold at less than its purchase price.
The RCMP concluded there was not enough evidence to lay charges.
Don Morgan, minister for the GTH, says CEO Bryan Richards will not be a part of the transition to a private-sector operator.
Morgan says a consultant will be hired to come up with a new governance structure that will see the private sector operate the GTH, but under the terms of government legislation.
“We believe the GTH plays a vital role in Saskatchewan’s export- oriented economy and will for many years to come,” Morgan said Friday in a release.
“However, the GTH will be in a better position to reach its full potential operated by the private sector.”
Some of GTH’s business clients include Brightenview, Canadian Pacific Rail, Loblaw Companies, Morguard Investments and Sask Power.
Following the RCMP investigation last summer, Morgan said the government made mistakes with the GTH land deal and that the project was “probably not a business that government should have been involved in.”
He said the government moved too slowly with the land and that allowed speculators to buy property and resell it at a much higher cost to taxpayers.
The NDP Opposition said the government’s plan to divest GTH is being made to shield the provincial corporation from public scrutiny by moving it off the public books.
“For the minister to claim the GTH will ever be in the black is ludicrous,” NDP critic Cathy Sproule said in an email.
“A private company is unlikely to have any more luck selling land at the GTH than the Sask. Party, while the cloud of scandal continues to hang over it. It’s time for this government to … clear the air and call a full judicial inquiry.”