Saskatchewan First Nations Set To Bid For PotashCorp

Emotions are running high in Saskatchewan following the $US40 billion bid for the Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan by BHP Billiton. Premier Brad Wall has invoked the image of Tommy Douglas as a symbol of prairie populism in his attempt to stop the Billiton deal saying, that if accepted, it could cost the treasury billions of dollars in lost royalties and taxes over a decade. PM Steven Harper's Conservatives, to their credit, have nixed the deal, at least for the next 30 days, saying it wasn't in Canada's longterm interests to allow it to proceed.

Media outlets worldwide are running stories about how Harper's decision compromises Canada's pro- international investment paradigm, that it's based on politics and that he's knucked under to prairie populism. Certainly, to some degree, Wall's opposition to the hostile takeover bid is based on popular sentiment throughout Saskatchewan as well as his honest assessment that it threatens Saskatchewan and Canada's future security. Potash is a mineral salt high in potassium, mined for use in agricultural fertilizers. Saskatchewan has 90% of the world's reserve and if/when food scarcity becomes the huge problem it looks like it will potash will become gold.

But, in my opinion, the big story is that the Saskatchewan-based Indigenous Potash Group now has found the door opened to their multibillion-dollar competing bid for Potash Corp. The First Nations group said it is collaborating with merchant banks, pension funds and Chinese investors to prepare their counter bid. The indigenous group has already raised $25 billion in the last two weeks from potential investors.

"We cannot be left out. We are moving on this," said Rick Gamble, who is chief of the Beardy's and Okemasis First Nation and spokesman for the Indigenous Potash Group. "This is exciting stuff. We're ready to go". Assembly of First Nations Chief Shawn Atleo addressed that assembly yesterday, and spoke to the importance of the potash debate saying, "It will be a benchmark for the whole country".

Here then is a great oppurtunity for our often alienated-overlooked indigenous brothers and sisters to regain some control over the land of their ancestors, to provide direction in the ongoing plunder of their [and Saskatchewan's] natural resources and to re-exhibit pride in their historic cultural heritage. Right On!
First Nations Plan Bid for PotashCorp