Scott Moe’s Sask. Party the least transparent government in Saskatchewan history

REGINA - Today, Official Opposition Ethics and Democracy Critic Meara Conway and Water Security Agency Critic Erika Ritchie took Premier Scott Moe to task over the Sask. Party government’s lack of transparency and public accountability after his government attempted to charge $107,280 for a simple freedom of information request.

“This is the least transparent government in Saskatchewan’s history,” said Conway. “Scott Moe and the old boys club have been in power for 16 years. Lately, they seem more interested in hiding problems than fixing them.” 

On November 1, the Opposition requested that the Moe government provide details about its provincial drainage policy and the effectiveness of its flood risk assessment efforts.

The Moe government returned the FOI request with an eye-watering $107,280 bill, asking that the Opposition pay half in advance.

Sask. Party officials claim to have exactly 100,000 pages of relevant information. They also estimate that the time needed to search and retrieve paper versus electronic documents would be exactly the same: 539 hours for each. 

In total, the Moe government said it needed 3,606 hours to complete this task, and offered 2 hours, valued at $60, free of charge. 

“Scott Moe and his Ministers have frequently been caught misleading the public. That’s why the freedom of information process is so important,” said Ritchie. “Saskatchewan people deserve to know what the government is doing with their tax dollars. They deserve to know if this government is working for the people or working for the Sask. Party’s out-of-province donors.”

According to the independent Information and Privacy Commissioner, estimated FOI fees have skyrocketed since Scott Moe took office. During the 2018-19 fiscal year, total estimated fees were $130,200. Last fiscal year, total estimated fees were $2,359,322. Over two hundred fewer FOI applications were received last year compared to 2018-19.


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