Sask. Party withholding carbon capture facts

Despite prodding from NDP SaskPower critic Cathy Sproule, the Sask. Party is still withholding documents and details regarding the carbon capture boondoggle promised six weeks ago – documents Sproule says the public needs to see now.

When a committee of the legislature was convened Jan. 5 to get to the bottom of the Sask. Party’s sputtering carbon capture experiment and the lies told by the Sask. Party about it, Brad Wall’s cabinet minister Bill Boyd couldn’t or wouldn’t answer question after question. Instead, he said he would send responses and documents later.

But, after six weeks and a detailed reminder from Sproule, the Sask. Party has maintained its silence, and stubbornly refused to schedule the next meeting of the committee.

“This is $1.5 billion of taxpayer money, and the Sask. Party spent nearly a year lying about what was going on at Boundary Dam 3 before leaked documents uncovered major problems they hadn’t told us about,” said Sproule. “I know the Sask. Party has got other scandals on their plate right now – but the carbon capture mess involves huge financial losses for Saskatchewan, and a troubling lack of transparency. We have to get to the bottom of it, and talk about where Saskatchewan should go from here.

“Boyd committed to provide information including details about the business case, the newest contract with the sole buyer of the carbon captured, and the criteria they’re using to determine if Boundary Dam 4 and 5 will be converted. The shareholders of SaskPower – the people of Saskatchewan – are entitled to that information.”

The scraps of information that were revealed in the committee were disturbing. Saskatchewan paid at least $17 million in repair costs and lost $7 million in penalties for failing to capture enough carbon in 2015.

“The fact is, power bills have gone up under the Sask. Party by about 35 per cent,” said Sproule. “Saskatchewan families are not made of money – we can’t keep bankrolling the Sask. Party’s money-losing pet projects with higher and higher power bills. Families are paying the price for the smart meters fiasco, and now they’re going to pay for the carbon capture losses. We’re all paying for it, we deserve to know what’s going on – it’s that simple.”

Sproule sent Boyd a detailed letter on Jan. 20 itemizing the information and documents he had promised, but failed to provide. She also requested that the next meeting of the committee be schedule immediately to continue the probe into the carbon capture boondoggle.

“To not even answer that letter shows the Sask. Party has a real disdain for transparency now,” said Sproule. “They made bad choices when financial times were good in Saskatchewan, and they don’t want to tell us what they’ll do now that times are tight.”