SaskTel is now the only government-owned telephone company left in Canada, so a risk analysis is being done to ensure it isn’t vulnerable to a takeover.
It happened to Manitoba Telecom Services (MTS) recently when it was bought out by telecommunications giant Bell, known as BCE.
Premier Brad Wall insists this does not mean SaskTel is for sale because it is protected by legislation.
“Maybe that’s a discussion Saskatchewan people want to have. We wouldn’t be in a position of welcoming private investment into SaskTel, even if that was seen to be the right thing, because we didn’t campaign on that,” Wall maintained. “I guess if there was a compelling case. If it was something Saskatchewan people we thought really wanted to at least talk about – there is the idea of provincial referendum.”
SaskTel is the only small regional player left standing and it has to share its infrastructure with private carriers, so the premier says competition is tough.
NDP interim leader Trent Wotherspoon wonders why this is being talked about now, particularly given the deficit the province is facing.
“It is a sneaky sort of way of dealing with these things. Instead of being honest with Saskatchewan people, ‘hey this is our financial position, these are our plans to deal with it,’” Wotherspoon said.
There is no timeline for the risk analysis to be done and the premier is promising to make it public when it is completed.