A lot of the work being done on the Chinook Power Stations near Swift Current is not being done by Saskatchewan workers, and a lot of the money isn't going to Saskatchewan companies. That's the allegation from the official opposition, the provincial NDP, who back up their claim with a letter from Sask Power President and CEO Mike Marsh.
In a press release this afternoon, the NDP said they had a letter dated April 7 from Marsh that outlined his concerns with the project. Apparently, less than a quarter of the funding for the Chinook Power Station went to local companies, and fewer than half of the workers on site were from Saskatchewan.
"Major infrastructure projects like the Chinook Power Station drive employment and trades experience that is crucial to our recovery, but the Sask. Party’s unwillingness to hire locally means we’re using our money to stimulate Alberta’s or France’s economy, not Saskatchewan’s,” said NDP Leader Ryan Meili. “Saskatchewan workers and companies are struggling to make ends meet, while the Sask. Party keeps handing over hundreds of millions of dollars in contracts to out-of-province companies.”
According to Sask Power, the Chinook Power Station represented a $605 million investment. The natural gas-powered site took two million hours of construction to build and will power over 350,000 homes when it is fully operational.
Of that $605 million, the NDP said Marsh's letter showed less than a quarter of it went to Saskatchewan companies. The excerpt they provided said “total contract awards for the project to local companies was more than 140 million dollars”. They did not offer a definition of local in their release.
“Once again, the Sask. Party has let Saskatchewan workers and Saskatchewan companies down,” said NDP Finance Critic Trent Wotherspoon. “Our economic recovery hinges on real action on Sask First procurement. Working families don’t need more empty words from this government – they need action.”