The Sask. Party government spent months working to create a “Premier’s Library of Saskatchewan,” based on American examples including a presidential library. The NDP says the pet project is a huge waste of time and money, and shows the government’s growing sense of entitlement.
“To believe that things like the premier’s notes and photos should be on display in a museum shows no common sense, but quite a bit of ego,” said NDP Central Services critic Warren McCall. “What’s worth keeping can certainly be housed and displayed in our provincial archives or any one of our existing museums or universities.”
The NDP has obtained a proposal dated May 24, 2013 for the “Premier’s Library of Saskatchewan.” The proposal calls for an $806,250 incremental budget for the Territorial Building to be prepared, and proposes several staff and on-site consultants be hired to manage items like the premier’s manuscripts, prints and photographs, and “fine art.” According to the proposal, one of the models for the Premier’s Library of Saskatchewan is the Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library in the United States.
The NDP filed a request under access to information laws to read a second proposal, which the government refused to provide. In its submission to the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner, defending its refusal to release the document, the government revealed that a 15-page proposal for a Premier’s Library was also presented to the Treasury Board Jan. 14, 2014.
The NDP previously revealed the government has been working on a politics museum – a duplication or renamed version of the Premier’s Library, dubbed the Museum of Democracy – to be housed in the Territorial Building. As of October 2014, that project was ongoing and is the major focus of former senior advisor to Brad Wall, Rick Mantey, who collects a $177,000 salary from taxpayers.
“This is baffling,” said McCall. “This government is warning hospitals, schools and municipalities that there’s not enough money to sustain their budgets and that Saskatchewan people should brace for budget pain – but it has been spending its time and resources planning to build a multi-million-dollar shrine to premiers.
“After a decade of prosperity, people are starting to ask where all the money has gone. The growing culture of entitlement within that government, and pet projects like the Premier’s Library are a part of the waste.”
Click here to see the Government's Plan for a Premier's Library.
Click here to read the OIPC decision, revealing that the plan went to Treasury Board.