NDP calls on Sask. Party government to stop “holding back” SaskTel

The Saskatchewan NDP believes the provincial government is holding back SaskTel.

NDP critic Trent Wotherspoon says the Crown corporation is being held back by the dividend the Sask. Party is taking from it and keeping SaskTel from connecting people in rural and northern settings.

He says he wants to see the province cut the dividend in a significant way so SaskTel can allocate those dollars towards connecting more residents.

“This is a provincial project, it should be treated as such,” Wotherspoon said. “It’s a game-changer in rural and northern communities. At this time in our lives, connectivity is not a luxury, it’s an essential service.”

Wotherspoon also finds it troubling that the Sask. Party government is charging 18 per cent interest to those who accessed deferral programs offered by Crown corporations.

Wotherspoon calls it robbery on the part of the government.

“I’ve had concern about this rate and I’ve tried to confirm it — whether it’s 18 percent — if it’s something higher that’s even more outrageous,” Wotherspoon said. “That should be reduced for those that endured hardship and accessed the deferral program this year.”

SaskTel paid dividends of more than $110 million to Crown Investments Corporation last fiscal year, an increase of more than $3 million from the previous year.

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