Opposition calls on Commissioner to investigate Cockrill’s side job, +$179k in gov’t contracts

REGINA - Today, the Official Opposition formally requested two conflict of interest investigations into Sask. Party MLAs who, through their private businesses, appear to have wrongfully cashed in on government contracts. At issue is Minister Jeremy Cockrill’s family business, Fortress Windows and Doors, and MLA Gary Grewal’s Sunrise and Thriftlodge motels. 

“People deserve to know whether Sask. Party MLAs are using their power to score big government contracts for their own businesses,” said Ethics and Democracy Critic Meara Conway. “If you’re an elected member of the government, you shouldn’t be doing sales to your own government on the side. A lot of folks I’m hearing from are worried that, after 17 years in power, the Sask. Party is looking more and more like an out-of-touch old boys club.”

Pursuant to section 29 of the Members’ Conflict of Interest Act, members of the Legislative Assembly can trigger conflict of interest investigations after a formal request to the Conflict of Interest Commissioner.

MLAs Grewal and Cockrill appear to be in contravention of section 15 of the Act, which prohibits elected officials from participating in government contracts.

In 2021, Fortress Windows and Doors Ltd. received $179,137.46 in contracts from the Battleford Housing Authority, which is overseen by Moe’s Minister of Social Services. During this time, Minister Cockrill was working as a salesperson for the company on the side. 

SaskTel also signed multiple contracts with Fortress in 2020 and 2021 when Cockrill was earning income from Fortress.

MLA Grewal’s motels did almost no business with the Ministry of Social Services prior to his election in 2020. However, once Grewal became a member of the Sask. Party Caucus, government business increased to $731,194 in a few short years. 

Government business also jumped considerably around the time MLA Gene Makowsky took over as Social Services Minister in May 2022. Makowsky and Grewal share a constituency office.

Government figures prove that, when taxpayers are picking up the tab, MLA Gary Grewal’s motels inflate their prices more than any other hotel/motel taking Social Services clients, often double normal rates.

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