SGI Minister not opposed to STC sale

By Nigel Maxwell
February 13, 2017 - 5:00pm Updated: February 14, 2017 - 5:20am

Saskatchewan's Minister for SGI and the Crown Investments Corporation did not hesitate to say a full review of the Saskatchewan Transportation Company (STC) must be done.

Speaking at a luncheon put on by the Prince Albert Rotary Club Monday, Minister Joe Hargarve told the crowd the government would look at what can be done while also taking into account the needs of those who rely on those services.

Speaking with reporters afterwards, Hargrave did not rule out the option of selling off the Crown bussing company.

"If somebody comes along and offers a bunch of money for it, again just like Sasktel, I think that question would have to get answered,” Hargrave said, noting their declining ridership in recent years.

In its last annual report, STC said ridership declined from 261,531 in the 2014 fiscal year to 244,785 in the 2015 fiscal year. Last year, STC received over $14 million in grant money from the province.

"A full review of STC has got to take place," Hargrave said.  "It's a big draw on the provincial revenues and I think it's up to about $17.3 million is what we have to contribute to keep them afloat every year."

Hargrave's comments come less than a week after Premier Brad Wall said he would not be opposed to looking at the sale of SaskTel if the deal was good for the province.

These topics will be part of a bigger conversation by the provincial government in the coming weeks as the Saskatchewan Party looks at ways to bring down a deficit of $1.2 billion.

Hargrave said claims the government has "blown all the money" are misinformed, and noted the government spent over $9 billion on required infrastructure projects such as the twinning of Highway 11 between Prince Albert and Saskatoon.

The two big budget items for Prince Albert are a new bridge and hospital. Hargrave said neither project is more important than the other.

"Both of them are on my priority list as part of P.A.; they are the bigger funding projects," he said.

During his state of the city address Mayor Greg Dionne said his priority was more on a new hospital than a new bridge.

Hargrave said it's obvious there is a high need for a new hospital, but made no firm commitments.


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