Privatization Poker: Monday’s Medium-Stakes Fight Over Casinos Regina And Moose Jaw

Politics-casino privatization scrum_small
Photo by Darrol Hofmeister, sharpshooter photography

As reported on CBC, in the Leader-Post and CJME, and mentioned earlier on Dog Blog, a plan by the provincial government to sell Casino Regina and Casino Moose Jaw fell apart today.

Fell apart? More like fell off a motorcycle, landed on a banana peel, bounced over a hedge and face-planted in a pile of yellow snow.

It was an epic wipe-out, and it left everybody mad at everyone else.

The drama started this morning after the Opposition NDP sent out a media alert saying that the Saskatchewan Party government had negotiated a memorandum of understanding to sell the casinos to the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations — and that the NDP had been in the loop on this development for a couple of weeks.

NDP leader Cam Broten said that because the M.O.U. between the government and the FSIN was only brought to the Opposition’s attention two weeks ago; and because details of the sale are not yet determined; and becauuuse the whole affair gave him an icky feeling in his tummy (that’s just a guess); the NDP would NOT give the government the pass it wanted on following privatization rules laid out by the Crown Corporations Public Ownership Act.

“We were given a very clear ultimatum,” said Broten at a 1 p.m. press scrum. “We needed to support this legislation being fast-tracked in the spring sitting in order for this M.O.U. to go ahead. And that’s a position in violation of the Crown Ownership Act, which has been supported by Mr. Wall — when he voted for it, and in two elections.”

“Selling Crowns is an important matter, because the benefits are for everyone in the province,” added Broten. “And to fast-track, to be pressured to urgently pass legislation in violation of the Crown Ownership Act — that game is not on. I will not agree to do that.”

In a second scrum just over an hour later, Premier Brad Wall painted a different picture of the NDP’s role in l’affair casino incroyable.

“I’ve listened to Mr. Broten’s scrum; it is full of things that frankly aren’t true,” said the premier. “And you don’t have to take my word for it, because Chief [Perry] Bellegarde was dealing with him and his party as well.”

Well, nyah nyah nyah!

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