NDP call for change as Husky reports highlight failures of government

With the reports into the 2016 Husky oil spill finally made public years after the incident, the NDP is calling for changes to how pipelines are regulated, and for the government to grant the Saskatchewan Information and Privacy Commissioner the power to order documents.

“The status quo has been to allow industry to police itself,” said NDP Leader Ryan Meili. “That approach clearly failed in this case, presenting a danger to the people of the province, our lakes and rivers, our agricultural lands, and our resource sector. These investigation reports provide further evidence that we need an independent pipeline regulator as exists in Alberta, and an evidence-based approach to inspecting and, where required, replacing pipe that is no longer safe.”

There are a number of concerns highlighted in the report compiled by Skystone International, the independent engineering firm the government contracted to investigate the spill, leading to Meili to call for an independent oversight body like in Alberta, which would provide better oversight of company activities.

In 2018, the provincial auditor also took issue with how pipelines were being regulated in the province, leading the NDP and United Steelworkers to call for an evidence-based replacement policy for pipelines to increase safety and oversight

The NDP and a journalism professor had been calling for reports on pipelines inspections to be made public for the last three years. The documents requested still haven’t been made public despite the Privacy Commissioner recommendation to do so. 

"We task the Privacy Commissioner to be an independent watchdog over the province and its government, but we don’t give him any teeth,” Meili said. “In some cases, the Sask. Party completely ignore recommendations. That needs to stop. The Privacy Commissioner needs the power to hold government accountable. In this case, records could shed light on concerns about the investigations into the spill and help facilitate the changes needed to make the province safer.”

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