Gov’t Emails: Moe Gov’t broke the law, buried Crown reports during by-elections

REGINA - Today, Official Opposition Crown Investments Corporation Critic Erika Ritchie released a series of government emails obtained via FOI request. The emails show that the Moe government delayed the publication of numerous crown corporation annual reports and quietly buried them in the middle of a by-election. 

“This is about basic fairness and transparency,” said Ritchie. “People rightly hold their leaders to a higher standard and expect that they follow their own rules. If our crown corporations are being mismanaged and seeing huge losses, Saskatchewan taxpayers deserve to know. This government is not being straight with the public.”

The government emails show that the annual reports for SaskTel, SaskPower, SaskEnergy, SGI, and SaskWater should, by law, have been tabled no later than July 14, 2023. The reports were available for tabling in early July but the government deferred the tabling date to July 28. This allowed the government to release the reports while an election-time publication ban was in effect and notify neither the Opposition nor the media. 

The following is a short overview of the actions and their timing, as per the government emails:

  1. In late May, CIC informed their Minister’s office that the CIC and CIC Crown Corporation annual reports may not be ready for tabling the last week of June, which was the past practice.
  2. A decision was made by the Minister of CIC and Executive Council that the annual reports would instead be tabled in July.
  3. The CIC staff identified that they would be prepared to table anytime in July. This is consistent with the requirement that the ministers of these Crowns receive the financial statements/annual reports within 90 days of year end.
  4. The last date for dropping the election writ for the Regina Coronation Park byelection was July 14 to meet the requirements of the Elections Act. The other two by-elections could have been held later, but for cost purposes it was generally assumed that all three would be held at the same time.
  5. In making the decision on July 13 to table on July 28, the government also made the decision to hold no press conference, to provide no briefings, and to simply table the annual reports with the clerk.  At the same time, they either did know or should have known that the annual reports for the above five listed Crowns must be tabled within 105 days of the end of their fiscal year-end (or on July 14).

Under sections 34 and 35 of the Crown Corporations Act, CIC Crowns are required to provide their financial statements and annual reports to their Minister within 90 days of their year-end. Their Minister is then required to table the annual reports with the Clerk of the Standing Committee on Public Accounts within 15 days. 

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