Nick Fearns
for the Crossroads

Premier Brad Wall’s government is following through on their earlier commitment to partially repeal a controversial law, Bill 40, which would allow the sale of up to 49 per cent of a Crown corporation.

Wall said he had been told by Saskatchewan people loud and clear that they did not like the change.

Deputy Premier and Justice Minister Don Morgan introduced legislation on Tuesday to reverse changes made as a result of Bill 40. That bill was passed last spring.

“We have listened to Saskatchewan people and are making these changes because of what we heard,” Morgan said.

“Saskatchewan people were concerned about this legislation and the potential sale of even a small stake in a Crown corporation.”

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The legislation introduced will “repeal the provisions implemented by Bill 40 that allow for the sale of a partial equity position of a Crown corporation,” according to a Government of Saskatchewan press release.

“We have said from the beginning that when we make a mistake, we will admit that mistake and take action to correct it,” Morgan said.

The Interpretation Act, 1995 is being amended to repeal the recently added definition of “privatize” and to repeal the ability to add additional methods of transfer of control that would constitute privatization by regulation.

Instead, the term “privatize” will be defined to confirm that it does not include a winding-up and dissolution of a Crown corporation.

The premier has said some legal advice to government suggested Bill 40 was required to wind down a Crown corporation.

Wall said that winding down a Crown, which would be much rarer than selling a portion of a government-owned company, should continue to be an option for future governments.

“We think there may be a reason for doing that at some point in the future for something else,” Morgan said. “There may be some reason why something has become necessary or redundant and we don’t have to come back to work on another piece of legislation.”

The opposition NDP said the changes didn’t go far enough and want a full repeal of the law, not a partial one.

Earlier this year, Wall called Bill 40 a miscalculation by the government.

A report released in July showed that the Crown corporations contributed $219 million to the provincial general revenue fund, which surpassed the budgeted goal of $204 million.

[/emember_protected] Saskatchewan Bill 40