The controversial Global Transportation Hub (GTH) land deal was back in the spotlight again on Monday.
The property in question was rapidly bought and sold by different third parties at a soaring price, just before the GTH purchased it for $21 million. Its highest appraisal was $12 million.
Opposition MLAs Cathy Sproule and Nicole Sarauer questioned Deputy Highways Minister Nithi Govindasamy and Global Transportation Hub CEO Bryan Richards about when the GTH told the highways ministry it was buying the land.
“There’s a timeline, and it turns out both of the individuals at the committee today were on holidays for large parts of that timeline,” Finance Critic Cathy Sproule said.
“But I think the concern there is that the GTH knew it was going ahead to purchase and that highways wasn’t officially told, but there was already negotiations going on for highways to purchase the land back from the GTH at a much higher price than the highways appraisals indicated.”
The Opposition also voiced concern that emails turned over to media through freedom of information requests hadn’t been passed on to the standing committee in charge of investigating the land deal.
Sproule said the public won’t get the answers it needs unless Economy Deputy Minister Laurie Pushor appears before the committee, which is a request the government denied.
Both Govindasamy and Richards are expected to follow up with more answers for the committee.
“One positive takeaway is Mr. Richards from the GTH has agreed to bring some of our questions to Mr. Pushor, so at least in that sense, we’re hopeful we should get some answers,” Sproule said.
“There are a number of other key individuals though that should be answering, particularly cabinet ministers who are involved in the deal that we haven’t had access to.”
However, Larry Doke, deputy chair of the public accounts committee, said the auditor’s report into the matter was enough.
“The auditor has asked all of the relevant questions to any of the officials that were asked later here by officials,” Larry Doke, deputy chair of the public accounts committee, said. “It seems that the same questions were being asked and answered.”
Sproule said the opposition will continue to look at its options to keep the GTH issue in the forefront and is anxious to hear the results from the RCMP investigation.