I wonder to what extent Harper’s position on the takeover of Potash Corp by BHP is being influenced/lobbied by his neo-con soul mate in Australia, John Howard, whose speeches Harper would freely plagiarize from and is the home of BHP, which by the way stands for Broken Hill Properties. Is that Harper’s goal, to turn Canada into a broken hill property, with the killing of income trusts being his first big foray into disenfranchising Canadians from ownership of the country’s resources and business earnings?
Potash Corp.: PM’s dirty little secret
Mon Oct 25 2010
Prime Minister Stephen Harper last week shrugged off concerns about the looming foreign takeover of Potash Corp., a major Saskatchewan mining company. “This is a proposal for an American-controlled company (Potash Corp.) to be taken over by an Australian-controlled company (BHP Billiton Ltd.),” he said.
The Prime Minister is wrong. Potash Corp. is a widely held company, and 49 per cent of its shareholders are Canadian compared to 38 per cent American. While the Potash Corp. CEO is American and lives in Chicago, the company is headquartered in Saskatoon and a majority of its employees and directors are Canadian.
Once these facts were out, the government abandoned that line of argument in favour of another: that the Potash Corp. takeover will be screened by Investment Canada, a federal agency, to ensure there is a “net benefit” to Canada.
In theory that sounds good. In practice, not so much.
“In every single takeover of a natural resources company in our country of late, promises have been made and promises are broken and Investment Canada has been letting the companies off the hook.” That is not NDP Leader Jack Layton or the Canadian Labour Congress speaking. Rather, it is Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall, a small-c conservative and normally a Harper ally.
Wall has effectively torn the cover off a dirty little secret: Investment Canada is a toothless watchdog. Its screenings of takeovers are feel-good exercises, nothing more. As evidence, consider the recent takeovers of Falconbridge and Inco. In both cases, the foreign buyers promised to maintain employment levels. Once in control, they laid off hundreds of workers, while the government stood idly by.
Harper may shrug off concerns about foreign takeovers. But working Canadians have reasons to be worried.
Monday, October 25, 2010
Posted by Brent Fullard at 9:59 AM