(Brad Wall served as a Ministerial Assistant in the Grant Devine Conservative Administration)
Grant Devine's Giga Text Scandal - 1989
1989 the Saskatchewan government was required to have certain provincial
laws printed in French and English, which promised to be an enormous
undertaking. The Devine Conservative government contracted with Guy Montpetit, a business associate of Michael
Cogger, who was a close friend and campaign chairman for, Brian
Mulroney. (Cogger would later be appointed to the senate).
Cogger sought the services of Ken Waschuk, a Conservative
party pollster in Saskatchewan, who introduced Montpetit to Deputy
Premier Eric Berntson. Montpetit assured him that he could provide the
government with computer equipment and software that would do all the
translations for them.
The Devine government
quickly invested $4 million in GigaText for 25 percent of the shares.
Montpetit and his business partner, Douglas Young, a Winnipeg university
professor, invested no money, but received 75 percent of the shares.
GigaText used the money to purchase twenty computers from another
Montpetit-owned company, Lisp, which in turn had obtained the computers
from GigaMos Systems,Inc., yet another Montpetit company. GigaMos had
obtained the computers from a bankrupt U.S. computer company a few
months earlier. They were part of the U.S. company's inventory and,
according to an independent court-appointed auditor, had a value of
$39,000. " However, GigaMos billed Lisp $1.5 million for the computers;
an invoice was sent, but no money changed hands.
other words, Saskatchewan's Conservative government paid almost three million
dollars for thirty-nine thousand dollars worth of computers!
When (Senator Eric) Bernston, who struck the deal was asked about this, he shrugged it off,
claiming they got value for the money spent. They would fork over
another million dollars, while Montpetit lived the high life,
In other words,
Lisp didn't pay anything for the computers. For these same computers,
GigaText (that is, the government of Saskatchewan, the sole financial
backer of GigaText) paid $2.9 million.
did share the wealth:
He also flew Eric Berntson,
Berntson's chief political aide Terry Leier, and Ken Waschuk to various
destinations. Leier, as a GigaText board member, received a $5,000 cash
advance, while Waschuk was given a $150,000 interest-free loan. (4)
despite the four million dollar expenditure, the computers never
worked. The first time they tried to do a demonstration, they coughed
and died. All of this is a matter of public record.
Brad Wall's IPAC Scandal - 2013
A report on the Sask. Party’s IPAC-CO2 project has revealed a conflict
of interest scandal that appears to have cost taxpayers millions of
dollars -- despite the Sask. Party’s false claims that money was well
A forensic investigation by Myers Norris Penny revealed the conflict of
interest originated because two individuals held seats on both the IPAC
and Climate Ventures Inc. (CVI) boards. Through a “handshake” agreement,
IPAC gave CVI $2.9 million over a year and a half for computer
hardware, software and IT services that were worth considerably less.
According to the report, “Through review of invoices and comparison with
other vendors, it was noted that CVI’s business practice was to mark up
invoices it received for services rendered by third parties for IPAC’s
business purposes by significant amounts.” The report describes a web of
conflicts in which managers were able to transfer public money to their
own companies through a sole-sourced agreement with no contract.
(Trent Wotherspoon is Finance Critic for the Saskatchewan New Democratic Caucus)
NDP finance critic Trent Wotherspoon has repeatedly asked the Sask.
Party to reveal the Myers Norris Penny report over the last year. Sask.
Party Minister Donna Harpauer and the government defended the costs,
claimed there was a written contract where none ever existed and claimed
the report showed taxpayers were getting a fair deal.
Harpauer told a legislative committee on June 19, 2012, “I can look at
the eyes of anyone in Saskatchewan and say I am very, very comfortable
that the public dollars that were spent, they received goods and
services that they were spent on.” Reported on CBC Thursday, IPAC board
chair Dennis Fitzpatrick said, “It found that the money was well spent,
everything was accounted for and there was no impropriety.”
Wotherspoon said those claims don’t match up with the actual report,
revealed by an investigative reporter. The report notes that as a result
of the conflict and mismanagement, IPAC may have been “paying for
goods/services that are inadequate and/or not received.”
“The Sask. Party’s responsibility to come clean is long overdue,” said
Wotherspoon who, on Wednesday, asked the independent provincial auditor
to investigate. “Saskatchewan people deserve better than a slow leak of
disturbing information through the media that exposes unacceptable
conflicts, misleading statements and allegations of taxpayer money
wasted. They deserve straight answers and protection of public money.”
Wotherspoon added that the Sask. Party has no right to claim ignorance
on the file. The government paid $100,000 to start CVI and has held
three of IPAC’s seven board of director seats since IPAC’s inception.
“The minister should have known what was going on and stopped it.
Instead, it looks like the Sask. Party’s focus was on sweeping the whole
affair under the rug.”