Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Government introduces Enterprise Saskatchewan Bill

The creation of Enterprise Saskatchewan is meant to put politics into economic policy by making it look as if an "independent" body makes decisions on economic policy but that body consists of persons appointed by the Sask. Party government. In effect it will follow an economic policy most likely approved by the government since the members are appointed by the government. At the same time they group are unelected and not accountable to the electorate. If people complain to the government about its policies for example should it engage in privatisation the government could say it was an independent not a government decision. This provides a way of breaking promises but suggesting that Enterprise Saskatchewan not the government did the deed.
It will be interesting to see who is appointed. THe article does not indicate what the length of terms are and if members can be removed at will by the govt.
I always find it strange that there are complaints that economic decisions might be made for political reasons. When the decisions are government decisions they should be made for political reasons. These complaints are always code for the position that the decisions should always made in the interests of business! It will be interesting to see how many from each stakeholder group is named to Enterprise Saskatchewan.

Government introduces Enterprise Saskatchewan bill
Last Updated: Tuesday, December 18, 2007 | 9:38 AM CT
CBC News
The provincial government has introduced legislation to create Enterprise Saskatchewan, an agency that's supposed to take the politics out of its economic policy.

To fulfill one of its main campaign promises, the Saskatchewan Party led by Premier Brad Wall plans to appoint a board drawn from business, labour and other groups to deal with economic development.

The Saskatchewan Party says too often in the province's history, economic decisions have been made for political reasons.

While in opposition, the party criticized the then-governing NDP for announcing a Broe Industries ethanol plant that never opened and losing tens of millions of dollars in the Spudco potato-growing venture.

But Enterprise and Innovation Minister Lyle Stewart, who introduced the proposed legislation on Monday, said Enterprise Saskatchewan will change all of that.

It will identify so-called "barriers to growth," telling the government to remove them, he said.

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"An example may be the length of time and difficulty and expense that it may take to register a corporation — that may be one of the first things that a business would notice," Stewart said.

The NDP has been critical of Enterprise Saskatchewan from the start, because it puts unelected people in charge of the economic development.

It says when the government chooses the board members — even from a variety of groups, including business and labour, universities and agriculture — the government ultimately sets the agenda.

Another criticism is that Enterprise Saskatchewan might provide the Saskatchewan Party with a backdoor way to sell off parts of the government.

"It is a recipe for privatization by stealth," New Democrat MLA Frank Quennell said about the bill to create Enterprise Saskatchewan.

Quennell noted that the legislation gives Enterprise Saskatchewan the right to transfer Crown assets, including people.

It also gives the board the right to buy and sell.

That means, for example, the government could transfer the phone company's home security business to the board and the board could sell it, Quennell said.

However, the government said it has already promised that the Crowns aren't for sale and the legislation doesn't change that.

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