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Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall speaks during a lunch break of the Regina and District Chamber of Commerce meeting on Thursday (TROY FLEECE/THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall speaks during a lunch break of the Regina and District Chamber of Commerce meeting on Thursday (TROY FLEECE/THE CANADIAN PRESS)


Premier Wall's speech on proposed takeover of Potash Corp. Add to ...

The world has, I think in many ways, tuned in a little bit more to what has been happening in Saskatchewan over the last number of years and certainly over the last number of weeks.

If you were watching the Google trends back in August, when the BHP Billiton hostile takeover story broke, you would have seen a real spike in terms of the number of stories with the word Saskatchewan. In fact, we broke our own record in terms of the number of media stories around the world involving the word Saskatchewan, at the time of this announcement of this hostile takeover. It wiped out previous record, happily, because the previous record was the 13th man story from the Grey Cup. So there have been some unintended benefits to all of this.

I remember a night in August when I got a call from someone who told me that the next day the news would break, that the PostashCorp of Saskatchewan would become the target of a hostile takeover bid by BHP Billiton. It was one of those rare nights where Tammy and I had actually organized a date night. We were going to be going to the movie, and the movie we went to that night was Inception. I don't know if you have seen it, it's the new DiCaprio movie and it's pretty complex. It's one of those movies you've got to pay attention to, there's about seven different dream plots with one dream plot and I don't remember anything of the movie, I can tell you that. I was thinking mostly about potash and what the implications for what I had just been told might be. Tammy and I are going to have to rent that when it's out on DVD.

Immediately upon learning the news, the Government of Saskatchewan struck an internal task force made up of representatives, senior officials in Finance, Energy and Resources, in Justice and in Enterprise Saskatchewan. We retained the services of the Conference Board of Canada to help us provide some qualitative analysis as to the impact of this takeover on the provincial economy and on the revenues for the province of Saskatchewan. We also retained what we think is among the best legal counsel you'll find in Canada when it comes to these kind of takeovers, when it comes to learning more about and piloting through the Investment Canada review process.

I sought the counsel of other premiers. We had a chat, sir. I had a chat with the previous premier; I had a discussion with Premier Romanow, provided good advice.

I talked to Premier Lougheed. I think Premier Lougheed was one of Canada's best premiers in terms of balancing the need to have a brand of welcoming climate for investment in his province, but also a being careful steward of the resources of his province. He said what he often says to me; he asked a rhetorical question. He said, "Who's resource is it, Brad?" And I said, "Premier, it's the resource of the people of the province of Saskatchewan." And he said, "You're right. Act like it, and you'll be fine." And we have. And we will.

We have engaged with the companies involved in this particular takeover and some of the companies on the periphery of this potential takeover. We have engaged with them, all along seeking to further the interests of the owners of the resource, the people of the Province of Saskatchewan. And we have sought through this process to make sure that we were balancing the protection of our strategic interests. The protection of this resource that we have, with the need for us to continue with this brand improvement that you've been a part of that has made Saskatchewan not a great place to be from, but a great place to be. We want to build on our brand as a place where investment from all over the world is welcomed. And we have sought throughout this process to balance that against the need to also protect, for future generations, the strategic interests of Saskatchewan.

We have used in our analysis the metric that the federal government uses measure whether or not these takeovers are good or bad - it's a net benefit analysis. This process asks the question, is there a net benefit to Canada, to Saskatchewan, of this proposed takeover. We have applied this net benefit analysis in three different areas. Number one is jobs. Number two is revenue, your revenue, the rent you should be getting for the resource that you own. And number three is this concept of what about our strategic interests in the world going forward.

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