With people who were lowballed for land purchased for the Global Transportation Hub (GTH) now speaking out, NDP Leader Cam Broten says Brad Wall and his cabinet need to get back to the legislature and explain why they treated the owners of one stretch of land so differently.
“We’ve yet to hear any explanation at all from Mr. Wall for why the two businessmen who owned one parcel of land were paid a colossal price, while every other land owner was threatened with expropriation and given a much lower price,” said Broten. “If there is any justification whatsoever for handing over $21 million of taxpayers' money for a piece of land worth just a fraction of that – let’s hear it.
“Let’s get back into the legislature, debate this controversial land deal, and hear Mr. Wall explain why his signature is on that order.”
Residents of the rural municipality of Sherwood came forward Thursday to say the government lowballed many of them in buying their land for the GTH. The rural municipality is demanding a judicial inquiry on the scandal.
Another landowner, Granitewest Industries, is taking the Sask. Party government to court over the $11,000-per-acre price they were paid.
At least six others whose land was expropriated by the Sask. Party had to go to court to eventually get between $11,000 and $23,000 per acre.
Meanwhile, businessmen who had recently bought 204 acres were given $103,000 per acre by the Sask. Party – well over the appraised value of $30,000 to $35,000 – thanks to a cabinet order personally signed by Wall.
“Ten days ago, I wrote a letter to Mr. Wall demanding that he recall the legislature to deal with the financial mess our province is in,” said Broten. “He hasn’t even bothered to write back, because he refuses even the most basic level of transparency and accountability.
"The scandal around this land deal makes an emergency legislative session critical. We saw in the fall session that it took days and days of tough questions in the legislature to expose any truth at all about the carbon capture mess. It's past time for Mr. Wall to start answering questions about this deal.
"It's becoming clear that Mr. Wall and his pals have lost their way. They were given the best economic times, but they still plunged our province into deficit. Now, they’re cutting health care staff, surgeries and support in classrooms, but they're racking up wasteful spending like Lean and highly questionable land deals. Mr. Wall and the Sask. Party didn’t deliver for everyday Saskatchewan families in good times – and their decisions in tough times have been brutal so far."