Premier Scott Moe had some curious things to say in Premier’s Estimates today under questioning from Leader of the Opposition Ryan Meili.
First, when asked if he had seen any financial projections beyond the current year as part of the budget development process, the Premier said he had not. Days earlier when asked how long it would take to get the province back to balance, he shrugged and said the Finance Minister “knows more than me” when informed she had said it would take three to four years. It stretches the imagination to accept that the Premier has been so hands-off in the development of his pre-election budget.
Second, when Meili pointed out that Saskatchewan was already in recession by the end of last year, Premier Moe responded this was “news to me.” Statistics Canada and several outlets reported as much a month ago.
Third, the Premier said the Sask. Party had never sold off a Crown Corporation. This is demonstrably false: the Sask. Party sold off the Saskatchewan Communications Network in 2010 and the Saskatchewan Transportation Company in 2017, and struck a secret sell-off committee to explore ways to sell up to fifty percent of Crowns like Sasktel. All told, between 2007 and 2017, the Sask. Party sold off over $1.1 billion worth of public assets, and they refuse to share their plans for further sell-offs after the election.
Fourth, Premier Moe called the pricey and scandal-plagued Regina Bypass and Global Transportation Hub “an investment in Saskatchewan.” Unfortunately, the Sask. Party’s decision to hire a French conglomerate froze out local contractors, funneling much of that public money out of the province. At last count, the Global Transportation Hub was $44.7 million in debt with nothing to show for it.
Fifth, the Premier said he thought there was “truth” to the Finance Minister’s words dismissing the Leader of the Opposition as “Dr Doom and his caucus of gloom.” When Meili and Opposition members had raised questions about pandemic preparedness in early March, government MLAs had laughed and accused them of “fear-mongering” as they pushed ahead with plans for a snap spring election.