'Hypocritical attack': Sask. premier calls out Regina proposal to restrict advertising from energy companies
REGINA -- Saskatchewan’s premier had strong words for councillors, after Regina’s Executive Committee passed a motion to restrict energy companies’ ability to advertise with the City.
The motion was brought forward by Ward 6 Councillor Daniel LeBlanc.
He proposed energy companies be banned from sponsorship, naming rights of City buildings and advertising.
The amendment was passed by the committee with a vote of seven to four. If approved by council it would see non-renewable energy-based companies added to a list of companies or organizations that compromise the city's reputation along with tobacco, cannabis, pornography and weapons.
LeBlanc said allowing these sponsorships implies acceptance, at the City level, of what the companies do, which he said contradicts council's moves to make Regina more environmentally sustainable.
“We are concerned about the amount of carbon used in our city, I think it is similarly or more inconsistent for us to have buildings and parks named after fossil fuel corporations than it is to be named after a pack of smokes." LeBlanc said.
Premier Scott Moe threatened to pull funding from the province’s Crown corporations, currently allocated to the City of Regina, if the motion is approved by council.
“The City of Regina receives about $29 million a year from the municipal surcharge on SaskPower bills and $4.3 million from the municipal surcharge on SaskEnergy bills,” Moe wrote in an emailed statement.
“If these Regina city councillors have such a strong aversion to accepting money from energy companies, I assume they will no longer want to receive these funds, which could instead be distributed to other Saskatchewan municipalities.”
Moe called the motion “a hypocritical attack on the hardworking workers and employers that fuel Saskatchewan’s economy.”
Councillor Lori Bresciani was one of the four who voted against the amendment. She echoed the premier’s sentiments.
“We are 30 years out from a 2050 renewable city and I understand that we have to do our part, but these are employers, people who live in our city, they’re taxpayers and we’re going to say to them you can’t sponsor or give money to a community building?” said Bresciani.
Moe thanked Regina Mayor Sandra Masters for voting against the motion.
“I’m sincerely struggling with this because this is a long way away, and I’m really struggling,” said Masters. “I think the city still has the right to make the decision and if a gas company is going to give us a check for over $100,000 it’s up to council to vote on it anyway.”