Thursday, November 11, 2010

Saskatchewan voters flock to Brad Wall during Potash battle

Prime Minister Stephen Harper had good reason not to cross Premier Brad Wall over the proposed takeover of Potash Corp. by BHP Billiton. Mr. Wall’s party enjoys the support of a majority of Saskatchewan voters and he is seen as the best man to lead the province by almost three-quarters of those surveyed, according to a new poll conducted by Sigma Analytics.

You can read the rest of the article on The Globe & Mail website.

Though it's possible people are Saskatchewaned out, I hope we see a new provincial poll in the next month or so to see how the Saskatchewan Party's position changes in the wake of the potash decision.

7 comments:

  1. Ugh, this is terrible. If politicians get a message that voters support protectionism and chasing away foreign investment, we are in for an even longer economic mess.

    Harper's government isn't really conservative, it's just populist. The size of government has gone up a lot, income taxes are untouched except for those popular but zero-impact deductions for things like bus passes, and they're using Trudeau's protectionist Foreign Investment Review Board to block foreign investment. Almost no economist thinks the GST cuts were the best way to reduce taxes, nor do criminologists think longer maximum sentences are a good way to reduce crime. But Harper promotes these bad policies because they are popular with people who don't know what they are talking about. After 4 years, this government has yet to take a "hard" decision (ie., one that may not initially be popular but that it knows is the right thing for the country).

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  2. Good read :)

    But if I might quibble with the title.... "Saskatchewan voters flock to Brad Wall during Potash battle"

    .... This poll is the lowest that the Wall government has polled in the last 6 polls in the last 2 years. Hardly "flocking".


    They are still up about 6 points from election time. And it should concern the NDP that they are down 8 still since the election. But even so, they are polling better than most of the last 2 years.

    I don't think much is going to change between now and Nov. 2011. Not without some big event. Speculation recently on whether Lingenfelter will quit for "family obligations" or some such to avoid the drubbing.

    His response to the poll was basically "We need to do better" ... "but we did really well back when I was deputy leader for a decade.... so it probably isn't really my fault my numbers are down."

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  3. "Ugh, this is terrible. If politicians get a message that voters support protectionism and chasing away foreign investment, we are in for an even longer economic mess."

    Huh? Option #2 is the guy that still thinks we should re-nationalize potash.

    Atleast Wall was balanced enough to not threaten to make it a government company again. Even if the decision wasn't driven by conservative ideology.

    ... One would wonder tho. If both Harper and Wall said: "allow the sale".... How many people would be here berating those governments for only acting on their "Far right extremist ideology".

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  4. "After 4 years, this government has yet to take a "hard" decision"

    Income trusts.

    Atlantic accords.

    There that's 2.

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  5. Yes, income trusts. That's true. That's the best decision they ever made. I don't really know enough about the Atlantic accords to judge.

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  6. Barcs,
    "Atleast Wall was balanced enough to not threaten to make it a government company again."

    I suppose, to the extent that nationalizing an industry is the most extreme left-wing thing you can do in a democracy, then anything short of that is "balanced" by comparison. Although to me, government forcing the shareholders to sell to Canadians for undervalue instead of foreginers for value is not hugely different from forcing them to sell their shares directly to the government.

    But I'm not really talking about ideology, I'm talking about leadership. Reasonable people can disagree about lots of government policy, but anyone who has taken Economics 101 has found out why protectionism during a recession is disastrous. The government has to be ready to go against majority opinion, for the simple reason that sometimes the majority of people don't know very much about an issue.

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  7. "Although to me, government forcing the shareholders to sell to Canadians for undervalue instead of foreginers for value is not hugely different from forcing them to sell their shares directly to the government."


    Yup. Mine went in the firesale the morning after for that very reason. Not maximizing my shareholder value means I should be investing elsewhere.

    Pretty proud I got 148.50 for em. The market peaked at 150 and change. Today it is trading at 141.31. There is a fertilizer shortage now. And while PCS is still there for the investing. I am thinking more about throwing the money into a multinational that won't have to deal with the immediate problem of not being able to sell shares at the best price.



    "for the simple reason that sometimes the majority of people don't know very much about an issue."

    Yup... 3 in 10 people are still of poor enough intelligence to not know about the very high profile privatization more than 20 years ago. PCS is not a crown corporation.


    But as to the sale. I am a bit on the fence about blocking it (even if I won't invest my money there anymore) The reason being the amount and importance of the resource. More than 1/2 the entire world supply is right here. And that might be important to control.

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