Broten demands judicial inquiry into Brad Wall’s GTH land scandal

Wall's excuse for massive overpayment to two businessmen proven to be bogus

NDP Leader Cam Broten says a judicial inquiry is needed to get to the bottom of Brad Wall's sketchy land deal, in which Wall personally signed an order to pay $21 million for land worth just a fraction of that. Wall’s excuse for that overpayment has now been proven to be misleading. 

Wall paid a whopping $103,000 per acre for one particular parcel of land, even though it was appraised at just $30,000 per acre. Two Regina businessmen that had just arranged to buy the land were the recipients of that $21-million cheque. Wall’s excuse for paying more than three times the land’s appraised price was that land values were going up fast. But CBC’s iTeam reported Wednesday evening that the same appraiser valued nearly identical land just across the road at $20,000 to $40,000 per acre more than a year later.

“This is absolutely disgusting,” said NDP Leader Cam Broten. “The reality is that the price of land in that area wasn’t going up at that time. So either Mr. Wall was not being honest with Saskatchewan people, or he didn't have a clue what he was talking about, even though he personally signed the order for this highly questionable $21-million purchase.

“Mr. Wall chose to give the owners of one parcel of land way more than the asking price – while his government was forcing everyone else in that same area off their land for a fraction of that money. There must be a reason for that – and we all deserve to know what that reason is.”

Broten demanded that a judicial inquiry be launched immediately. The call for a judicial inquiry has also been made by residents of the rural municipality of Sherwood, who reportedly are frustrated that they were treated so differently by the Sask. Party than the recipients of the special deal.

“Saskatchewan people need to know why Mr. Wall and his minister, Bill Boyd, chose to skip the usual process of buying or expropriating land through the Ministry of Highways, and instead cooked up a deal for the Global Transportation Hub to buy it on their behalf, and pay so much more than it was worth,” said Broten.

“Every single detail that emerges about this scandal makes it smell so much worse, and that's why we need a full judicial inquiry into this mess. The Provincial Auditor is looking into whether proper processes were followed, and that's important. But there are now serious legal questions that must be addressed.”

One Alberta businessman that made millions in the deal was reportedly renting at least 2,240 acres of farmland to Boyd through his family’s business. That company donated to Boyd's election campaign, as well as to the Sask. Party. 

Broten said a judicial inquiry can examine whether a criminal breach of public trust occurred. That is a criminal offence in which a public official, intentionally or through willful neglect, uses their office for a purpose other than for the public good, including dishonest, corrupt or fraudulent purposes.