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NDP levels allegations over government’s handling of Wascana Park development
It was an explosive start to the spring sitting of the Saskatchewan provincial legislature on Monday over a land deal in Wascana Park.
The opposition NDP made serious allegations against the Saskatchewan Party government over its handling of commercial development in the park.
Brandt is constructing a four-storey office building on land leased from the Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB) and the province for $1 per year. In exchange, the CNIB will receive free office space.
“When you’ve got the rules of the park don’t allow this to go forward, well let’s change the rules. That’s the process,” NDP leader Ryan Meili said in legislature.
“When you have the biggest corporate donor to the Sask. Party wanting to build it and have this opportunity you make that happen for them. That’s the process Mr. Speaker. And that’s not charity, that’s not philanthropy, as far as I can see that’s corruption Mr. Speaker.”
The government objected to the use of the word “corruption,” calling it inappropriate language and deserving of an apology.
The speaker warned Meili that he was pushing the limits, but would let it go this time.
The government said the construction of the office building was done through a public tender process.
“Six companies took out the information and only one came forward with a proposal which was Brandt. So it was tendered and all processes were followed,” said Ken Cheveldayoff, minister of the Provincial Capital Commission.
Cheveldayoff said the project was approved before the government took over majority control of the park board.
“The fact that the CNIB building conforms to the master plan was decided by the Wascana Centre Authority in 2016,” Cheveldayoff said. “It wasn’t decided by the Government of Saskatchewan. In fact, the government didn’t have a majority on that board.”