Greg, Greg, Greg …
His blog post of yesterday (some disreputable magazine … er, um prairie dog) neglected to mention a few details. The Saskatchewan Roughriders make it their business, off the field, to know what’s what with the government’s activities. Between the loan guarantees which saved the franchise from bankruptcy in the 1990s, to financially backstopping Grey Cups in 1995 and 2003, the talk of a domed stadium in downtown Regina, and the sheer desire of politicians to surround themselves with successful jocks (watch for offensive lineman Gene Makowsky to run for the Sask Party in Dwain Lingenfelter’s inner Regina riding in the November 2011 provincial election), the Riders’ administration and board of directors have more connections to the cabinet than the senior civil service in most government departments.
And the Roughriders don’t want any hiccups when they’re planning their centenary celebrations (Leader-Post). And one of the plans was to release a DVD of the Riders’ first 100 years, to be made by Partners in Motion. Part of the financing was supposed to come from SCN, as they were to pay for the rights to broadcast the final product. This is fine, because none of the other Regina-based television station would have been able to make time in its schedule top broadcast it — their schedules are all set in Toronto and they couldn’t broadcast a locally made television show even if they wanted to.
But with SCN getting killed off, there’s a big hole in the budget for this project, and it’s now in limbo. And it’s pretty clear that the Roughriders were taken by surprise — given their connections, they would have been making alternative arrangements for funding the project if they had the slightest suspicion That SCN wouldn’t be able to pay.
So, given that the Riders have many and deep formal and informal connections to the Wall government, and given that the Roughriders didn’t know that an important project for their centenary commemorations was going to go into financial instability because one of its major funding partners — SCN — was being pulled out, then did the minister responsible for SCN, Dustin Duncan know about SCN’s fate before the budget was delivered? It doesn’t look like it.