The fallout from the shutting down of the Saskatchewan Transportation Company (STC) continues, six months after the last bus rolled out.
New emails obtained by the NDP appear to show that no one in the ministry of health knew the impact the decision would have.
In the email, assistant deputy minister Mark Wyatt asks, in relation to the northern transportation program, “any thoughts on the impact STC loss?”
NDP health critic Danielle Chartier argued the government did not do its due diligence when making the decision to close the provincial bus company.
“This government made a decision, and this minister made a decision that would impact his ministry in a negative way, without knowing the negative impact it would have,” Chartier said.
Along with its passenger service, STC was used to transport chemotherapy drugs, blood supplies, lab material and other medical necessities throughout the province.
The freedom of information files also show that STC had been used throughout 2016, as the sole transport supplier to the Saskatchewan Disease Control Laboratory, “because these products cannot be shipped by Central Services couriers as they cannot provide the same timeliness and temperature protection.”
But Health Minister Jim Reiter is standing behind his support of the shutting STC down. He maintained STC was not the only answer to moving medical supplies.
“I just fundamentally disagree with this approach that the NDP has that somehow because the government doesn’t own a bus company that it has a detrimental effect on healthcare,” Reiter argued. “No other province owns a bus company. I just came from a meeting of health ministers, other provinces get medical supplies around their province and people get to medical appointments.”
Reiter used Outlook as an example of a community that hadn’t been served by STC for years that has both a hospital and a long-term care facility, “they have private couriers deliver their supplies.”
The NDP maintains the government did not look beyond the dollar figures in deciding to close STC.