The NDP, SaskTel Outsourcing And The Burden Of Proof

Murray Mandryk has a column worth reading in today’s Leader-Post about the Saskatchewan NDP’s charge that crown corporation SaskTel is farming out work to an Alberta company.

Background: On Friday, the NDP sent out a press release charging that under the Saskatchewan Party government, SaskTel has signed a contract for Ledcor to do installation for SaskTel. The release says “Ledcor has been charging SaskTel double the Crown’s in-house price for these services.” On Monday, The StarPhoenix reported that the NDP hadn’t proved that claim, though. Today, Mandryk chides the NDP for making weak arguments:

At issue is an NDP news release that came out late Friday afternoon accusing SaskTel of contracting out services to a third-party private company at twice the expense of what it would have cost to provide the same service in-house. Of course, this would clearly be a horrific waste of money by the publicly owned telephone utility. Add to the equation that the company in question was Ledcor – one of the driving forces behind the Saskatchewan Party government’s Bill 80, which no longer necessarily allows unionized tradespeople at a job site to be represented by the trade union of their choice. The problem, however, is the NDP really didn’t present a shred of substantive evidence to support its claim. In fact, the response from SaskTel suggesting that such agreements are not that unusual and this one actually represents a 15-per-cent saving for the phone company was far more compelling than the NDP allegations. Really, about all the NDP accomplished in Friday’s dust-up was to demonstrate why it might be a long while before the party will be back in power.

Of course, he also writes this:

Admittedly, it’s obviously within the realm of possibility that this could be a cooked-up deal to throw a bone to a company that happens to be a Sask. Party ally and donor. (The party received $1,340 from Ledcor Alberta Ltd. in 2010.)

Anyway, it’s a good column and topic, and, if you haven’t already, you should take a look.

The NDP’s press release is available here, if you’re curious.

Author: Stephen Whitworth

Prairie Dog editor Stephen Whitworth was carried to Regina in a swarm of bees. He's been with Prairie Dog since May 1999 and will die at his keyboard before admitting his career a terrible, terrible mistake.

3 thoughts on “The NDP, SaskTel Outsourcing And The Burden Of Proof”

  1. The NDP are going to have to be much more meticulous than this – any half-researched flak they toss out against the SP is going to burn them far more. It’s just not worth it for them to do otherwise.

  2. Just another the sign the recently reduced NDP haven’t changed their ways as of yet. If they want to be taken serious again, then end this practice.

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