One day after he announced his retirement from politics, Bill Boyd’s name is being connected with what the NDP says is a questionable trip to China.
Boyd said he was there earlier in the year as a private businessman seeking investors for his agriculture firm.
“I am part of a company that was set up to try to attract investor interest in irrigation developments in Saskatchewan on farmland in close proximity to a viable water source,” Boyd explained in an emailed statement. “A seminar was arranged in Beijing to try to attract investors who might be interested in such an investment, which attracted a number of people.”
But at the panel seminars held during his private trip, Government of Saskatchewan logos were used and Boyd was advertised as the Minister of the Economy. At the time he was a backbench MLA.
“I made it clear that I was presenting as a farmer and private businessman, not the current economy minister,” Boyd maintained. “In China, as in the States, titles remain in place. So any reference to myself as the minister of the economy is custom in that country.”
The NDP argued this is another example of the government’s questionable decision-making.
“We had the premier singing his praises, saying that Boyd is in the DNA of the Sask. Party and we will know that these scandals are also in the DNA of the Sask. Party,” interim leader Nicole Sarauer said. “Boyd announced he is retiring, but don’t get me wrong the entire Sask. Party (has) to wear what’s going on right now.”
In 2016, Boyd’s name was linked to a controversial land sale at the Global Transportation Hub.
Boyd is confident there was no conflict of interest, but has asked the Conflict of Interest Commissioner to review the trip.
As well, all those who attended the seminars are being contacted to clarify that neither Boyd was a cabinet minister, nor was the Government of Saskatchewan involved.