Tuesday, August 24, 2010

An eye-opening exercise

I think that today's editorial (SP Aug. 24/10) makes the point that any potential bidder for PCS has to deal with more than share price. It will be incumbent on governments to ensure that any future owner of our potash industry will provide benefit to the people of Saskatchewan. Although it is a good strategy for PCS executive team to be out beating the bushes for other speculators, which is driving up the share price, it should also be considering what corporation will be a good corporate employer. With that in mind, I would be very opposed to China owning PCS regardless of what they wished to pay simply because of that government's history with human rights. I can't believe that China would consider employee rights and OHS regulations, collective agreements and other benefits normally accorded PCS employees to be of a top priority for China. And I suspect Russia is only one step behind China.

In reading the various articles on this issue, I wasn't sure whether I should be amused or affronted by CEO Bill Doyle's comments that BHP Billiton promises of keeping PCS headquarters in Saskatoon is malarkey and that we were being hoodwinked. These comments were made by the CEO from his executive offices in the Chicago area. It is true that PCS has offices in Saskatoon, but the executive suite here is basically empty. And the tone of the articles seemed to imply that no well run corporation would consider Saskatoon a suitable site for such activity.

On the upside, in the event PCS does not change ownership, I hope the provincial government will enact its legislative authority to coerce the PCS Board to return, in totality, the corporate headquarters of PCS to Saskatoon. Saskatchewan people have had their eyes opened and for that we should be thankful.


  1. Peculiar...

    Yesterday, you opined that “I am always amazed when people believe businesses should exist solely for their convenience.” Yet, by advocating for PCS’s working headquarters to be legislatively forced into Saskatoon, you are demanding that PCS’s private business decisions be legislated for the “convenience”- or perhaps better put, the benefit - of Saskatchewan residents.

    Of course, what you advocate with regard to PCS is not unreasonable: However, unless you’re a substantive shareholder (or, perhaps, a pivotal consumer of PCS potash), in a globalized market Saskatchewan’s citizens surrendered their collective rights to determine the corporate direction of PCS with its privatization.

    Globalized mining conglomerates “are businesses and want to make a profit,” and “At some point . . . residents are going to have to come to terms with this issue.”

  2. Mistress, what this last commenter is missing is that the people of Saskatchewan assumed the debt of the company when they went public. They did this in exchange for a company commitment that they would not only grow the company but keep the head office in the province. (We should have more executive jobs here, not less, if they lived up to the agreement that was made). Then the province put the requirement in legistlation, which includes the stipulation that the CEO live here. So by moving the CEO and its executives to the states the company is breaking its promise to the people who deserve better treatment when the potash is under their soil. The precious potash can't be picked up and moved to Chicago so we still have the right to enforce the legislation. We should recind their mining rights until they live up to the legislation. Let's show some teeth. Time to quit being treated like colonialists. Maybe we need our own tea party? The Yanks should understand that!

  3. And the point you're missing is that if the Mistress advocates the supremacy of the "free" market - such as she did in the post the above comment references - then it is counter-logical for her to selectively demand interference in that market for her convenience.

    What makes your comments even more counter-logical is your suggestion of a Tea Party North to advocate for the relocation of private individuals to Saskatchewan if employed by PCS. You might want to read a little bit on the Tea Party and understand exactly what they're actually about. Here's a good start: http://www.cbc.ca/world/story/2010/09/24/f-rfa-macdonald.html

    Besides, it is highly doubtful that we could even dream of enforcing much of this legislation without damaging the investment environment in Saskatchewan and/or dragging the province into any number of embarrassing or litigious situations.

    Your suggestions - regardless of merit - sound like you'd be more at home with Hugo Chavez than the Tea Party.


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