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NDP raise concerns about Sask. Party awarding U.S. company tire-recycling business contract

FILE - Spare tires are seen on a long row of unsold 2020 Jeep Wranglers.(AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File). dz ER

The Saskatchewan NDP is questioning the Sask. Party’s involvement with a U.S. rubber recycling company that now holds a contract held by a Saskatchewan business.

The NDP says former Sask. Party Finance Minister Kevin Doherty was hired as a lobbyist by a U.S. rubber recycling company. The U.S. company was later awarded a contract previously held by a local Saskatchewan business.

Shercom Industries, a Saskatchewan business that used to handle tire recycling in the province, lost its contract to an American firm in May of 2023.

“Handing this lucrative contract to an American company when a Saskatchewan-based business was already doing the work raises a lot of eyebrows,” said Official Opposition Leader Carla Beck.

“It looks even more strange when we look in the lobbyist registry and see that Kevin Doherty was hired by this American company to lobby the Premier in the year leading up to the announcement. The Premier has a lot of explaining to do.”

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The NDP says Shercom was forced to shut down its processing plant and lay off more than 60 workers after the contract was lost.

According to Beck, Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe claimed he never met with Doherty regarding the contract that ultimately went to the American company. Beck asked Moe in the legislature Tuesday if he had any concerns with the deal.

“In this particular case there was a request for proposal (RFP) as my understanding is that the company she’s referring to didn’t bid on it,” Moe said.

Chamber of Commerce CEO Jason Aebig sent an open letter to government members reading:

“Our concern is the apparent unwarranted regulation of a once ‘free market’ that is now siphoning jobs and market opportunities away from our city and reassigning them to business interests outside our borders.”

NDP MLA Meara Conway said this is another example of the Sask. Party helping out its inner circle. She outlined the contracts awarded to Canadian Surgical Solutions in Calgary for knee and hip surgeries, as well as mammograms as other examples.

“We see a concerning pattern of behaviour around these sweetheart deals and the involvement of Mr. Doherty, a former Sask. Party Finance Minister,” she said.

“We’re looking for a little bit of transparency … The Premier said one person bid on this RFP, we’re hearing from the community, the business community, that that RFP was appeared to be tailored to one company.”

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