Wednesday, 20 August 2014 15:55

Potash is heading out of Sask., but we’re not benefitting like we should

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In case you didn’t know, potash unit trains are now running at 160 cars at a time. That represents 15,000 tons of potash on each train headed west for export.
The reason for my interest is royalties. 
The wealth under our feet in Saskatchewan, be it potash or oil, belongs to all of us. Others can come and exploit the resource, including (gasp) foreign crown corporations, but by world standards, we are entitled to a 25 per cent royalty. 
Unfortunately, the Wall government is more interested in catering to its corporate friends than to us and charges only 10 per cent.
So, how bad is a 15 per cent royalty shortfall? Based on 9.8 million tonnes of potash at $500 per tonne exported last year, the shortfall would be $735 million.
For oil, the shortfall would be $2.4 billion.
Think what the provincial budget could do with an additional $3 billion. It makes a mockery of Wall telling us we can’t afford new high schools, hospitals, or seniors’ homes. Instead he mortgages our future to P3s .
With the additional income from world class royalties we could pay down the provincial debt and establish our own Heritage fund for the day when our non-renewable resources run out.
Next time you see a potash train rolling west, think of it as a million-dollar train.  That’s right. There goes a million dollars of royalties you will not be getting, rolling down the rails and straight into foreign-owned corporate coffers.
Tom Shelstad, Swift Current

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