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Legislative Report (21 September 2005)

Legislative Report

21 September 2005
RCMP Investigating Two More Cases of Financial Irregularities at SLGA

It hasnt yet been a year since the Calvert government announced two cases in which about $1.5 million dollars of taxpayers money went missing at the hands of two employees and once again we are hearing about more cases where the publics money has been misused. This time the financial irregularities happened in two provincial liquor stores. Missing is $227,000 from a store in La Loche and $20,000 from the store in Biggar. Thats nearly $250,000 of your money thats unaccounted for.

Both managers at the stores in question have been terminated with cause and the RCMP have been called into investigate. The Provincial Auditor will also be taking a look into how this could have happened. And that is all we know. There are several unanswered questions that remain. The Calvert NDP must ensure the public gets some answers to the following questions, once the RCMP investigation is wrapped up:

  • Over what period of time did all of this money go missing?
  • How could this much money go missing without anyone noticing until now?
  • Why are we only hearing about the Biggar story at the end of September when the employee was fired in July?
  • Did either of these employees have previous criminal records (as was the case in both the Environment and Community Resources and Employment fraud cases announced last December)?
  • Was there a criminal record check done on either of these employees?
  • Was this a case of not having the right security checks in place or a case of employees not following established policy?

    These incidents represent the third and fourth incidents of financial irregularities that have come to light in less than a year under the management of the Calvert government. The public was assured that theft and misappropriation of public funds was taken seriously after the Environment and DCRE fraud cases came to light late last year. Now we are hearing of two others.

    These latest cases also demonstrate the need to ensure criminal record checks on any government employee dealing with public funds be conducted as soon as possible. The Calvert NDP recently announced that employees in sensitive positions would have to undergo criminal records checks, but current employees have up to five years to voluntarily get one done. Five years is much too long. If the Calvert NDP truly had the safeguarding of your money as a top priority, these criminal record checks would be done in a year, not five.

    Long Term Plan for Development of Northern Sask. Must Come With Road Saskatchewan Party Applauds Highway Linking La Loche and Fort McMurray

    Earlier this week, the premiers of Saskatchewan and Alberta got together in Lloydminster to announce the construction of a road that will link northern Saskatchewan to Fort McMurray, AB. While the announcement itself is great news and something people in Northern Saskatchewan have been waiting on for years, there was something important missing from Premier Lorne Calverts speech: an long-term plan for northern development. Yes, the new road will ensure hundreds of northerners can access jobs and services in Northern Alberta, but we need a plan in place to ensure the highway isnt simply two lanes heading west.

    Its no secret. Northern Saskatchewan possesses a wealth of resources both natural and human that will help take Saskatchewan to the next level. Northern Saskatchewan is home to oil, diamonds, potash, uranium, and people who are eager to participate in building Saskatchewans economy. The economic and social success of our North is integral to Saskatchewans economic future. However, there must be a plan in place in order for this to happen. And such a plan was notably absent from what Lorne Calvert had to say about the road linking our two provinces.

    Although the highway linking La Loche and Fort McMurray will generate some economic activity as far as tourism is concerned, its a drop in the bucket as to what should be happening in the North. The oil sands that have made Fort McMurray the place to be do not stop at the border. Saskatchewan has its own fair share and we should be ensuring there is a plan to develop these resources in partnership with people in northern communities.

    The new road connecting Saskatchewan's north to Alberta must provide more than just better access to jobs in Alberta. Without a comprehensive development plan, this new road will simply provide our young people with another route out of Saskatchewan. Its just too bad the Calvert NDP government hasnt delivered a plan to ensure this doesnt happen.

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