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Opposition NDP wants broader auditor mandate to review government land deal
Jennifer Graham, The Canadian Press
Published Tuesday, February 9, 2016 3:18PM CST
Last Updated Tuesday, February 9, 2016 5:47PM CST
The Opposition NDP says Saskatchewan's provincial auditor needs a broader mandate to investigate a government land deal and it's recalling a legislative committee to try to get that done.
The NDP has called a public accounts committee meeting for Wednesday, where it plans to table a motion for the auditor.
The motion will request that the auditor look into whether the government misused public funds, made appropriate decisions and acted in the best interests of taxpayers, NDP deputy leader Trent Wotherspoon said Tuesday.
It will also request information before voters head to the polls April 4.
"If it's possible for the auditor to get in and report out fully in advance of the election, that would be ideal," Wotherspoon said.
"If this deal is so messy and complex that it's going to take months upon months or more and more time, then we would request an update and interim report from the auditor of what she's learned to date and what she can share with certainty."
The issue relates to a deal that saw the Global Transportation Hub (GTH) -- a Crown corporation -- buy 204 acres of land west of Regina. The area is in the path of a planned highway bypass around the city.
The GTH bought the land last year for $103,000 per acre, which the NDP says was three times the appraised value and far higher than what other land owners in the region received under threat of expropriation.
The GTH then sold 58 acres of the same land to the Ministry of Highways for $50,000 per acre.
Premier Brad Wall has said that his government did everything correctly.
However, Wall requested Monday that the auditor examine whether the government followed proper procedures and received appropriate value for the land.
The auditor is independent and shouldn't be rushed, said the premier.
"My understanding is, if she goes ahead and accepts ... my request to do the work, the report could be presented whenever it's done and that could be literally at any time, whenever it's done and we should all respect the process," Wall said Tuesday.
Wotherspoon called Wall's request "at best weak, half-hearted".
The NDP chairs the committee, but five of the seven members are from government, so it's not clear if the motion will gain traction.