Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Saskatchewan Conservative MPs... Kinda Like Mushrooms

You know the old adage about mushrooms? You know, how they're grown: kept in the dark and $h!t on...? Kind of like a Saskatchewan Conservative MP... Let Ralph Goodale's great weekly update highlight how this is:


Undoubtedly, the biggest story in federal politics affecting Saskatchewan last year was the near-takeover of the Potash Corporation by a hostile foreign bidder from Australia.

Two things were obvious from the beginning:

• First, this was not a good deal for Saskatchewan; and

• Second, despite the province’s overwhelming opposition, the Harper government really intended to approve it anyway.

The deal would have put jobs, investment and provincial government revenue at risk, to the tune of nearly $6 billion.

It would have destroyed the Canpotex marketing system, jeopardizing world prices and sideswiping other companies in Saskatchewan like Agrium and Mosaic.

In one fell swoop, this deal would have shifted into foreign hands effective control over 53% of the global supply of a fertilizer vital to world food security. Following the prior losses of Alcan, Inco and Stelco – all on Mr. Harper’s watch – this deal would have been the biggest selloff of our natural resources in Canadian history.

All these downsides were abundantly clear to the Wall government, and to other provinces and prominent business leaders who strongly supported Saskatchewan. But in Ottawa, Mr. Harper was unmistakably biased in favour of letting the takeover proceed.

This point has been independently verified in recent investigative reporting in the Regina Leader-Post and the Saskatoon Star Phoenix.

What’s most disturbing is that all 13 Conservative MP’s from this province sat mute and useless through this whole affair. As the only other voice from Saskatchewan, I stood alone – day-after-day – asking the necessary questions and defending this province’s interests.

Two lessons are quite clear from this experience:

One – when the chips are down, don’t count on Conservative MP’s to do anything but toe the Harper line. And two – a political monopoly in any province is a dangerous thing because you lose your clout and get taken for granted.

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