SaskTel stokes privatization worries with confusing billboard messages

Amidst concerns that regional crown corporation SaskTel — home of some of Canada’s lowest wireless prices and unlimited data plans — might be heading towards privatization, the company put up billboards with a slightly less than ideal slogan: “Deep breaths. It’ll be fine.”

Many believed the slogan was a tongue-in-cheek reference to the issue of privatization, though SaskTel denied that on social media, stating “Development began 8 months ago and the new creative tested positive in April, 2016, and is not tied to privatization.”

Regardless of its defense of the copy, the company has decided to take down the billboards. Some electronic billboards featuring the slogan came down on Monday, while the company is planning to take others down soon, according to the CBC.

Another somewhat vague slogan from the campaign was spotted in a men’s bathroom at a bar, reading: “It’s in your hands” — though due to its placement, the indication is more clear.

The privatization worries began when the government of Saskatchewan introduced a new law to define the word “privatize,” which would clarify that it could sell up to 49 percent of a crown company without officially “privatizing” it.

The government has promised not to sell its crown companies without a vote of support from the public, so this is seen by critics — including the NDP opposition — as a way to avoid such a vote in order to profit.

Related: CRTC nixes wholesale internet rates proposed by big Canadian carriers