With the premier and cabinet meeting today, the NDP is calling on them to pass a motion to refer the smart meter fiasco to the independent provincial auditor for a proper investigation.
According to The Provincial Auditor Act, the ways in which the auditor can take on a special assignment, such as a review of the smart meter debacle, are through direction from the Legislative Assembly or its Public Accounts Committee, which resumes sitting in October, or through direction from the premier and cabinet.
“The safety of Saskatchewan families has been put at risk and at least $47 million of their money has been wasted,” said NDP Leader Cam Broten. “We need an independent investigation to get to the bottom of this mess. The premier can ask the auditor’s office to do that today and that's exactly what he should do.”
The government has said its own Crown Investments Corporation (CIC) will look into the smart meter mess instead of an independent body. CIC is the government’s holding company and its board consists of three cabinet ministers -- including the Minister Responsible for SaskPower -- and two other Sask. Party MLAs.
“It's ridiculous for the premier to pretend that this is an independent investigation. This is literally the government pretending to investigate itself and that's a joke,” said Broten. “Saskatchewan people deserve answers and accountability. This government hasn't been forthcoming with either. That's why I want Mr. Wall to turn these smart meter files over to the independent provincial auditor today.”
The NDP has repeatedly criticized the government for failing to be transparent about the smart meter mess. Important information has only been obtained through freedom of information laws, while the government has hidden facts like the eight incidents that happened during the trial period in the summer of 2013. The NDP has also repeatedly asked the government to make the terms of its contract with the American company public – but the $200 million deal is still being concealed by the premier and his cabinet. The NDP has also asked for the total number of fires over the last year to be made public – but the government is still not willing to release that information either.