The Sask. Party leadership race is only a few weeks old, but the controversy over the Global Transportation Hub (GTH) is coming up again. This time, former justice minister Gord Wyant is talking about the controversial land deal.
In a news release Tuesday morning, Wyant committed to a public inquiry examining the establishment of the GTH if he’s elected party leader, and thus premier.
Many questions have been raised around prices the government paid for the land involved in the GTH development and connections between landowners and former economy minister Bill Boyd.
Wyant said many people he’s heard from have concerns about the deal.
“There is an old saying: sunshine is the best disinfectant. Without prejudging the outcome, I believe the only way to lift the cloud over the GTH is to shine a very bright — and very public — light on the entire matter,” Wyant wrote in the news release.
Wyant also committed to broadening the Conflict of Interest Act to give the commissioner more tools to investigate things like the GTH.
“It’s unacceptable to me and to the people of Saskatchewan that after all this time, there are still more questions than answers when it comes to the GTH,” Wyant said.
He did temper the promise by saying an ongoing RCMP investigation into the GTH could impact the inquiry but said he’d get it started at the earliest possible date recommended by legal counsel.
Wyant told reporters in Saskatoon Tuesday morning the RCMP’s conclusions may not answer everyone’s questions.
“The police investigation won’t be a public one unless charges are preferred,” he said.
“I think there will be some open questions that people will have, and they need to be answered.”
Asked why he didn’t push for an inquiry while he was justice minister and attorney general, Wyant said the government position was to allow the criminal investigation to take its course.
But he noted he did suggest he didn’t have all the facts when the decision to move forward with the land deal was made in cabinet.
“I was comfortable with the information we had at the time,” he said, noting new information in regards to land appraisal values have now come to light.
“That’s the whole point of having this inquiry, is to get to the bottom of this and to get the information the people of Saskatchewan deserve.”
Wyant said he’d still push for an inquiry if he doesn’t become the premier, and he would be speaking with other candidates in the race about their position on the matter.
Jeremy Harrison had talked about the GTH land deal early on in his leadership campaign, saying there were mistakes and he would cut ties with it. However, Harrison dropped out of the leadership race last week.
—With files from 650 CKOM’s Chris Vandenbreekel.