Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Latest Goodale Commentary


The Prime Minister's reputation for having a dismissive attitude toward Saskatchewan has been reinforced by his behaviour in the controversy about potash.

From the very beginning, the vast majority of Saskatchewanians were strongly opposed to the hostile BHP bid to takeover the Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan and shift control of PCS out of Canadian hands. People made that abundantly clear, as reflected in the unequivocal stance taken by Premier Wall. But it wasn't until Mr. Harper was confronted with national opposition, including from his own backyard in Calgary, that he came to the last minute decision to say "no" to the takeover.

The Premier and others were effective in marshalling that out-of-province support. And it's a very good thing we did, because Stephen Harper was clearly inclined to say "yes".

Two weeks before the federal decision was announced, the Conservatives were dismissing the takeover bid as just an Australian company going after an American company -- so who cares? Their indifference toward Saskatchewan
and their bias in favour of a foreign takeover were palpable.

Apart from heckling anyone who stood up for the "no" side in Parliament, all 13 Conservative MP's from Saskatchewan kept their heads down and their mouths shut. Right up to the final hours of the review process, the foreign bidder expressed absolute confidence about "yes" being the outcome. That's clearly where this federal government wanted to go. That was the signal they were sending -- rubber-stamp the takeover!

It was only after Conservative seats were threatened and four other Premiers, former Premier Lougheed, and various business leaders (especially from Calgary) came out strongly against the "yes" side that the tide turned. Thank goodness for that timely intervention. It played a pivotal role in saving Canadian control over potash.

Mr. Harper was once again ready to sell Saskatchewan down the river -- just as he has taken this province for granted so many times before, on everything from his broken promise of $800 million per year in extra equalization payments to totally ignoring the need for concerted action to help MS sufferers.

The Conservatives think they've got Saskatchewan in their hip-pocket. But their near-monopoly on politics in the province is not a helpful thing to Saskatchewan. It takes vigorous political diversity to get the attention we
deserve and need.

-- Post From My iPhone

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