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Wednesday, October 13, 2010 

Brad Wall Ignores The Interests Of The People Of Saskatchewan At His Political Peril!

The People of Saskatchewan once owned the Potash Corporation of Sask.(PCS) before the Grant Devine Conservatives gave it away to the private sector to satisfy their flawed ideological beliefs. As a result, the Saskatchewan treasury is out billions and billions of dollars that should have been used for health care, highways, education, etc.

Now that the PCS is the target of global corporate multi-nationalism, it is time for the interests of Saskatchewan's people to be brought into the debate.

Lingenfelter Expands NDP Plan for Potash in USW Speech

NDP Leader Dwain Lingenfelter attended a town hall meeting hosted by the United Steel Workers (USW) in Saskatoon Tuesday evening to highlight and expand the NDP’s Plan for Potash while criticizing the lack of strong, decisive leadership shown by the Wall government on the issue. With the possibility of a takeover of PotashCorp by Australian-based BHP Billiton, Lingenfelter said the people of Saskatchewan have an historic opportunity to set the terms of how their potash resource is mined, processed, and sold.

“It has now been two months since the Australian mining giant, BHP Billiton, launched a hostile takeover bid for the Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan,” Lingenfelter told the crowd gathered at TCU Place. “In the face of these unprecedented economic events, what have we seen from the Wall government? Contradictory positions from day to day; no clear plan; not even a process to collect the views of the owners of this strategic global resource – the people of Saskatchewan.”

Lingenfelter added that the only action taken by the Wall government since the BHP bid was announced two months ago was a taxpayer-commissioned report which identified $2 billion in losses to the provincial treasury should the bid receive federal approval while recommending the government of Saskatchewan do nothing to influence the decision or protect Saskatchewan’s interests.

“While the Wall government has been content to provide absolutely no leadership or new ideas given the historic circumstance in which we now find ourselves, the NDP has publicly launched its Plan for Potash which lays out, in no uncertain terms, demands and conditions to be placed on any foreign corporation ultimately given the right to mine, process, and sell the potash resource belonging to the people of Saskatchewan.”

Having already called for an enhanced Head Office presence in Saskatchewan, Lingenfelter expanded the NDP’s Plan for Potash, laying out additional terms and conditions that the Wall government must negotiate with foreign corporations vying for the right to mine our potash:

• That the people of Saskatchewan be given a Golden Share in the corporation. A Golden Share gives the holder ‘veto power’ over all other shareholders, with respect to specific corporate decisions. In the case of the Saskatchewan Golden Share, it should be used to require:

o That all corporate operations will be registered under Canadian law, so that all profits are subject to Canadian taxes and all operations are subject to Canadian laws and regulations

o That the corporation’s Head Office, all of its senior executives and all of its senior marketing staff be permanently based in the Province of Saskatchewan, and that

o The corporation will continue to market its potash through Canpotex

• That the people of Saskatchewan own shares in the corporation, whether Preferred or Common Shares, that will see the people of this province participate in the corporation’s future profitability.

• In addition to participating shares, the Board of Directors of the corporation should include two representatives appointed by Saskatchewan

• The corporation will sign an agreement with the Government of Saskatchewan to adjust its potash royalties, such that the people of Saskatchewan will be made whole for any loss in royalties due to the construction of new or expanded mines or due to corporate tax write-offs from acquisition debt

• The corporation will sign an agreement with the Government of Saskatchewan to set immediate and long-term targets for the growth of Saskatchewan potash employment and Saskatchewan potash production

• The corporation will sign an agreement with the Government of Saskatchewan to commit to world class standards with respect to environmental stewardship, community corporate contributions, workplace safety, and increased involvement for Saskatchewan’s Aboriginal workforce and communities

• Finally, the corporation will agree to the creation of a Potash Review Commission, comprised of independent officers, who will determine whether the Corporation is living up to its commitments to the people of the Province, and who will have the power to enforce severe financial penalties if it is not

Lingenfelter said the NDP would bring its ideas to the Legislative Assembly in the upcoming session and will call on the Wall government to live up to its responsibilities to protect the interests of Saskatchewan people.

“Time is running short, but it hasn’t yet run out. If the people of Saskatchewan bring pressure on the Wall government, it will have no choice but to stand up and represent our best interests in these crucial coming days,” Lingenfelter said.

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The PCS is the target of global corporate multi nationalism, it is time for the interests of Saskatchewan's people to be brought into the debate.
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