The provincial NDP is accusing the Saskatchewan Party government of wasteful use of a fleet of private planes.
Under the Executive Air program, the province owns a fleet of three King Air planes. The planes are for the use of the premier and cabinet ministers.
Speaking near the Saskatoon airport, NDP leader Cam Broten cited flight manifests obtained under Access to Information laws. He said the documents show taxpayers shelled out nearly $400,000 to cover Minister of the Economy Bill Boyd’s flights between 2011 and 2015.
That cost includes a flat fee of $37,000 per year paid into the program to cover each cabinet minister, as well as mileage costs billed at $4.02 per hour. The NDP claims that mileage charge doesn’t actually capture the full cost of the flights.
Broten pointed to 279 flights where planes shuttled Boyd between Regina and either his hometown of Eston or nearby Kindersley. He said planes were often used to take Boyd home from Regina for one night, only to then pick him up to go back to Regina the next morning.
“That’s what he’s been using this plane for – just a shuttle service because he doesn’t want to drive,” Broten said.
Broten said, if elected, the NDP would sell off two of the three planes, with the third converted to an air ambulance that would serve in the province’s north.
“To me that’s a common sense plan, and it’s also a compassionate one, because you’re actually putting dollars to where it helps people,” he said.
Broten said the sale of the planes would be expected to generate about $4 million.
As of 5 p.m. Thursday, Minister Bill Boyd had yet to respond to a request for comment.