Chief Darcy Bear appointed Chair of SaskPower
- EFN Staff | December 22, 2016
According to Deputy Premier Don Morgan, the Province of Saskatchewan has picked the right person to Chair the SaskPower Board of Directors.
Whitecap Dakota Chief Darcy Bear has received a three year appointment to Chair the Board of SaskPower, the principal electric utility in Saskatchewan. Established in 1929 by the provincial government, it serves more than 490,000 customers and manages $7 billion in assets.
The appointment is historic in that Chief Bear becomes the first Indigenous person to Chair a Board of a Saskatchewan Crown. But that is a secondary benfit to Deputy Premier Morgan. “We are really glad that it is a First Nation person but more importantly we have a competent individual that has demonstrated competence,” said Morgan at Whitecap while he was at the swearing in of the Whitecap Dakota Chief and Council. “Chief Bear was on the SaskTel Board and was a proven performer there and when you look at the successes he has had at Whitecap. We were fortunate to find somebody with those talents. He just happens to be First Nation.”
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Chief Bear says he will approach this position with the same method of leadership he uses in his home community. “There is going to be a lot of work without a question. But in a leadership capacity I have served for a number of years. You always identify the issues. What are the concerns? Then find a solution,” said Chief Bear. Besides being Chief, Bear has also served on the SaskTel Board and currently sits on SIGA and SIIT’s board.
Deputy Premier Morgan has had many dealings with Whitecap over the years and he is glad to now have Chief Bear on their side. “I have worked lots with Darcy. He has never given us a reason to say no. Any time they come to us with a project, if he could see it wasn’t going the right way he would ask who else we needed to make it work and you found yourself working with him,” said Morgan. “Instead of coming to a road block and saying it is done, with him it was the wheel might not have been turning fast, but it was always turning. Just think of the partnerships on the education side and their health facility and the casino and golf course are all result of his skill in negotiation and bringing success to his community. It is taking care of business and competent governance and that’s what we want in our province.”
The challenges ahead for SaskPower are plenty according to Deputy Premier Morgan. “We are at a point with SaskPower looking at electrical needs for the long term and we are also looking at alternate power generation. We have issues with the federal government that we are hoping we are able to resolve. Ours is a province that has a three hundred year supply of coal. We have a clean coal facility that is working well right now,” said Morgan. “And we need somebody that can take a strong position with the federal government and a credible position to say we want to maintain licenses for that. He is exactly the person that can do that. Also having Darcy understand it from the First Nation point of view and the Duty to Consult including environment issues, he will be a strong ally.”
Chief Bear is well aware of the work ahead but is confident in his systems and the team at SaskPower. “In Whitecap we have always worked from a consensus perspective then taking that strategy and moving forward with it and making sure we have the resources to do it. I’m not going to do it alone at SaskPower. You have the support of the board and President and Chief Executive Office Mike Marsh and all the staff he has access to so we can have the right information to make the informed decision in the board room,” said Bear.