Rumors of FCC leaving Sask. surprises political leaders

 The Legislature was in full reaction mode to speculation on Thursday that Farm Credit Canada might be about to move its head office out of Saskatchewan.

The issue was raised in the Legislative Assembly by Sask United Leader Nadine Wilson, with her party putting out a statement that claimed that “multiple high-level sources have told Sask United that Farm Credit Canada is leaving Saskatchewan and relocating its operations to Quebec.”

“It is highly concerning that the Moe government was completely unaware that the Trudeau government had made this decision to move the FCC out of the province. It is time for the Moe government to show some leadership, address this situation, and protect the interests of Saskatchewan,” said Wilson in a news release.

Already there is at least one news report that has shot down the claim that FCC is leaving Regina. Still, the claims about FCC, a federal Crown, possibly moving its head office out of Regina were the talk of the Assembly Thursday, and the speculation also seemed to come as a surprise to government officials.

“My understanding is they’re exactly that, rumors,” said Premier Scott Moe to reporters in the rotunda Thursday morning. “There may be some job additions that FCC is looking at in other areas.”

Moe said he had had an “introductory quick conversation in passing at an event” with the new president and CEO of FCC, Justine Hendricks, a number of months ago. Moe said he “indicated to her the value of FCC, not only to the city of Regina, but the value of having FCC in Saskatchewan, where it is really the centre of the agricultural lending, and the agricultural activity and the centre of agriculture for the nation of Canada.”

“So at this point, that’s a rumor. Our Minister of Agriculture (David Marit) has been in discussions with FCC as well, ensuring that that is the case and it’lll continue to be as well.”

Moe also expressed his view that FCC belonged in Saskatchewan.

“I would just say this when it comes to FCC. It needs to be headquartered here, and we would express, again express numerous times as I did in that one introductory meeting that I had with the new leadership at FCC, this is the place for FCC to be centered, because of what we do here in Saskatchewan and on the prairie provinces in agriculture that is not only leading the nation of Canada, but is leading the world.”

Opposition critic Trent Wotherspoon expressed his concerns about the stories about FCC possibly leaving. 

“If there’s any merit to the rumor around FCC moving its office from Regina, from Saskatchewan, that would be a horrible loss and something that all of Saskatchewan should stand up against, and we can stand united as an Assembly on that front,” said Wotherspoon.

“It’s incumbent that the Premier makes certain whether there’s potential to this rumor. If there any potential, or any merit to the rumor, then he needs to act on this immediately with the federal government in a solid way and make that case that FCC belongs here in Saskatchewan, how important it is to our province, certainly here in Regina and all of those jobs, but very important to agriculture and producers across this province.”

Opposition Leader Carla Beck also voiced concern. “It’s the first I had heard of it today when the member brought that up. It’s deeply concerning if that is the case. This is a major employer here, an operation that has not only huge economic impact, huge social impact in our city and in our province. We will be sure that we are following this closely, and bringing forth any concerns as we hear them.”

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