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Discussing the possible privatization of SaskTel

By Dale Johnson Posted: September 29, 2016 6:00 a.m.

John Wright, a lecturer in the Department of Economics who will moderate the debate, says the discussion will give the public a broader sense of the issues associated with the potential privatization of SaskTel.
John Wright, a lecturer in the Department of Economics who will moderate the debate, says the discussion will give the public a broader sense of the issues associated with the potential privatization of SaskTel. Photo: U of R Photography

The contentious issue of selling off SaskTel to private interests will be the topic of a panel discussion at the University of Regina.

The event - sponsored by the Department of Economics, the Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy, and the Department of Politics and International Studies - will be held on Friday, September 30 from 2:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. in the Research and Innovation Centre, room 119, and is open to the public.

The moderator is John Wright from the Department of Economics, a former deputy minister and CEO of several Saskatchewan Crown corporations.

“Recently, the Premier indicated that, under the right conditions, SaskTel may be for sale and that ‘we ought to have a public discussion' and that the public would be consulted, ‘in perhaps a referendum.’ "

Wright says a panel session that provides insight about the potential sale of SaskTel is timely and is an important way to engage Saskatchewan residents about the issues.

Entitled “The Privatization of SaskTel: Perspectives” the panel members are Dr. Jason Childs from Economics, Dr. Margot Hurlbert from the Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Pulbic Policy, and Dr. Tom McIntosh from Politics and International Studies.

Wright says “they will identify the many issues involved in a possible sale of SaskTel including the public policy role of SaskTel, the political dimensions, the privatization alternatives and the associated valuations, the economic impact, possible implications for customer service and rate changes, and the potential use of the proceeds among many other issues.”

Each panel member will speak for five to seven minutes, and then respond to questions from the moderator and from audience members.

“We hope that the public will have a broader sense of the complexities of the issues associated with the potential privatization of SaskTel. We hope that they will continue the discussion in an informed and thoughtful manner as the government considers its options,” says Wright. “And we hope that, should the government put the question of privatization to the public in a referendum, they will be in a position to have a well-informed vote.”

Event:        The Privatization of SaskTel: Perspectives
Date:          September 30
Time:         2:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Location:   Research and Innovation Centre, room 119
Audience:  Open to the public