Speakers’ comments show Sask. Party in disarray

Almost everyone has had a “thought experience” that began with them suddenly uttering the phrase, “Why in Hell did so-and-so just do ‘that’?” For most people, it’s a one-off experience that eventually you erase from your memory – that is, unless that behaviour continues to the point at which it becomes a regular incident. 

In the political arena, such abnormal behaviour usually ends up becoming front page news; “front page”, that is, simply because it is eventually revealed how much effort is made in order to keep such deeds away from public view. Many such stories involve our government, in which then Sask Party MLA Bill Boyd and many “close business friends” were involved in land sales involving the Regina Global Transportation Hub. Another that also merits serious consideration would have to be the government’s decision to allocate an additional $1 billion for the reconstruction of an off-ramp intersection along the Regina Bypass, as the Paris (France)-based architectural firm that originally designed the interchange had to recalculate ramp width based not upon the turning ratio needs of a Peugeot limousine, but rather that of a John Deere “9 Series” tractor towing a FlexiCoil air seeder.

Unfortunately, neither story has been fully told, leaving the public lacking answers to serious questions, such as in the Bypass case, why were its plans revised under developer pressure to accommodate it being rerouted to utilize Tower Road, especially when we now know that the whole project should have been started some 6 km further east on the TransCanada Highway 1, and taken a northern route around the city to relieve traffic congestion at the city core of semi-trailer activity. We’re now also trying to find answers to questions arising as to how this $1 billion was spent, including whether contractors billed for new materials, but instead utilized Public Works inventory and pocketed the differential amounts. 

As both voters and taxpayers, we’ll probably never get the answers to our questions, or find explanation as to be released along the same lines as the Warren Commission into the death of John F. Kennedy, long after we’ve forgotten them or now have a nurse feeding us pablum for breakfast in a Senior’s home. If only for amusement purposes, I believe that I deserve an answer as to whether Bill Boyd ever became a successful business consultant with key clients in mainland China. 

Unfortunately, there are stories that are also “out there” that will probably never be reported, simply because mainstream news media are more concerned about libel suits as opposed to informing the public that a story may have a wider scope than originally thought. Consider, for instance, the case brought against Ken Dickhoff, General Manager at Sask Trust when in 1990 it filed for bankruptcy.

Evidence we submitted described how that scam not only worked (real estate loans were created for cronies based upon excessive land appraisals, then payments defaulted), but that Dickhoff had perfected the scheme while being Manager at Norfolk Trust, another Saskatoon investment house catering to Saskatchewan’s wealthy. The directorship, not having any idea as to why certain properties had the buyers defaulting payment, even begged Dickhoff to sell the portfolio – at huge commission to boot. Eventually he found a “mark”, the British Columbia Teachers’ Housing Cooperative, which later also filed for bankruptcy based upon some $13 million in investment losses.

This story was published in the Globe and Mail because two Saskatchewan media outlets wouldn’t touch it.

When it comes to stories about politicians, however, I don’t believe reporters should be pulling punches no matter how well the government may be performing. Some office holders should by their own actions eventually lose the privilege of holding such office, including Saskatchewan Rivers MLA Nadine Wilson for “misrepresenting” her COVID-19 vaccination status to her constituents.

Unfortunately, not every politician can get an opportunity to create personal wealth or access to powerful administrative possibilities that enhance prestige without first throwing away the camouflage to reveal who they truly are. In this case, the most recent public official demanding such analysis is Saskatchewan Party MLA for Meadow Lake and Government House Leader Jeremy Harrison

Earlier this week the Speaker of the Legislature Randy Weekes called out Harrison for constantly harassing the Speaker performing his duties, the second Speaker to have voiced such concerns. Not only was Harrison sending out personally goading and even threatening text messages, Weekes also made it known that Harrison had recently “flouted the rules” by bringing a hunting rifle into the legislature. 

Harrison has never appeared to hide his gun fetish, even once shouting suggestions that Saskatchewan should adopt Texas-style “open carry” regulation following defeat of amendments to firearms safety regulation. Weekes also alluded to Harrison’s abuse of staff and constant turnover, and including one incident in which he actually demanded that an employee get clothing for him at his home.

Later that day, further maintaining that he’s no longer willing to accept the constant attempts by Sask Party MLA’s to intimidate him, Weekes forcefully told member of the Legislature that “Enough is enough” and cut up his Sask Party membership card, leaving pictures of the dismembered card to be released to the media. 

Premier Moe has now stepped into this controversy, maintaining that stories about Harrison are either greatly exaggerated or “totally false”. However, given as to how much emotion Weekes expended in offering up this information, voters in the Meadow Lake riding may find sufficient concern from this event that they may now be reconsidering as to whether re-electing Harrison in October is reasonable, or merely a reflection of their lack of courage in even asking the question in the first place. 

What these events illustrate, however, is that the Saskatchewan Party is now in total disarray, even now prepared to turn on a colleague who’s not only become a friend since first being elected in 1999, then re-elected five more times. 

My guess is that Meadow Lake constituents will see fit to hold Mr. Harrison held accountable for his actions come October – and I’ll take bets on that one.