Friday, October 22, 2010

Brad Wall's Saskatchewan: a new Banana Republic

Terence Corcoran:
Did we miss the constitutional change — the one that created the Peoples’ Republic of Saskatchewan, with Brad Wall as el presidente?
Sounding ever so much like the head of some mosquito-ridden developing country squeezing dollars out of a multinational mining giant, Mr. Wall has been running an aggressive campaign against BHP Billiton’s $38.6-billion plan to take over Potash Corp.
... Mr. Wall seems to think Potash is still a Crown corporation of some sort, and he’s the new socialist head of state.
... The banana republic comparison may seem a little harsh, but the idea comes from the widely reported news that Mr. Wall or his negotiating minions actually asked BHP to pay a billion dollars up front into government coffers.

... trying to get a multinational to pay a billion dollars in taxes in advance smacks of a Third World shakedown by a political leader looking for cash to distribute to voters.

... If all this is true —and there has been no government denial to date —it paints a dark picture of the political culture in Saskatchewan —and Canada....
So much for Wall's strong support of free markets.  Populist politics trump principles, again. 

Update (or maybe it's backdate): Here are some interesting thoughts from Norm Park of the Estevan Mercury (The People's Paper Since 1903) last September:
... Why doesn't Potash Corp team up with Agrium and Mosaic and buy out BHP?

Certainly they've heard of reverse takeovers, haven't they? Maybe they're not interested in staying in business though.
Or maybe the head of Potash Corp, Mr. Doyle, really does want to cash out his $500,000,000 in shares and severance payments and head home to Chicago. This is where he is apparently running Potash Corp from anyway.
... And as far as protecting the province's resource interests … didn't we once have an oil company known as SaskOil that begot Wascana that begot Nexen that kinda got dismantled and moved to Calgary? What happened there?

Anybody heard of Ipsco? Something called Evraz now owns it and no Saskatchewan-based corporate presence of note can be found there, at least not since Roger Phillips retired.
If we can't build a head office base here in Saskatchewan after 120 years of trying, then maybe we just have to accept our fate and be happy with royalty payments, decent payrolls and strong employment figures while the profits and decision making head elsewhere.
... Sherritt Coal and oil companies like Penn West and many others don't sweat the fact that their major administrative decisions are made in places other than Saskatchewan. SaskPower doesn't mind shifting management decisions to an Ontario corporation … it's all part of the never-ending game, especially in the resource sector....
Meanwhile, Stephen Harper backs up Norm Park saying Potash Corp is 'American-controlled' anyway.

Upperdate: Brad Wall responds to Corcoran.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

actually bhp denied it this afternoon