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  • Canada’s Fossil-Fuelled Pensions June 22, 2018
    The British Columbia Investment Management Corporation is?the steward of BC’s public pensions, but bankrolls companies?whose current business models exceed the climate change targets agreed to in the Paris Agreement to which Canada is a signatory. The pensions of over 500,000 British Columbians and assets worth $135 billion are managed by the Corporation—-one of Canada's largest […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Imagine a Winnipeg...2018 Alternative Municipal Budget June 18, 2018
    Climate change; stagnant global economic growth; political polarization; growing inequality.? Our city finds itself dealing with all these issues, and more at once. The 2018 Alternative Municipal Budget (AMB) is a community response that shows how the city can deal with all these issues and balance the budget.
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Why would a boom town need charity? Inequities in Saskatchewan’s oil boom and bust May 23, 2018
    When we think of a “boomtown,” we often imagine a formerly sleepy rural town suddenly awash in wealth and economic expansion. It might surprise some to learn that for many municipalities in oil-producing regions in Saskatchewan, the costs of servicing the oil boom can outweigh the benefits. A Prairie Patchwork: Reliance on Oil Industry Philanthropy […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • What are Canada’s energy options in a carbon-constrained world? May 1, 2018
    Canada faces some very difficult choices in maintaining energy security while meeting emissions reduction targets.? A new?study by veteran earth scientist David Hughes—published through the Corporate Mapping Project, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives and the Parkland Institute—is a comprehensive assessment of Canada’s energy systems in light of the need to maintain energy security and […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • The 2018 Living Wage for Metro Vancouver April 25, 2018
    The cost of raising a family in British Columbia increased slightly from 2017 to 2018. A $20.91 hourly wage is needed to cover the costs of raising a family in Metro Vancouver, up from $20.61 per hour in 2017?due to soaring housing costs.?This is the hourly wage that two working parents with two young children […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
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Archive for 'potash'

Saskatchewan budget misses opportunity on rental housing assistance

I recently wrote a ‘top 10’ overview blog post about the 2018 Saskatchewan budget. Following on the heels of that, I’ve now written an opinion piece about the budget’s announcement of a phase out a rental assistance program for low-income households. Points raised in the opinion piece include the following: -Across Saskatchewan, rental vacancy rates […]

Ten things to know about the 2018 Saskatchewan budget

I’ve written a ‘top 10’ blog post about the recently-tabled Saskatchewan budget. Points raised in the blog post include the following: -This year’s budget was quite status quo. -Last year’s budget, by contrast, included a series of cuts to social spending. Last year’s budget also announced cuts to both personal and corporate income taxes that […]

Will Oil & Potash Put SK Back in Black?

The Sask. Party government pulled out all the stops yesterday to report an ostensibly??balanced budget, quite possibly the last one before next springa€?s provincial election. Revenue Assumptions The drop in oil prices is a huge fiscal blow to Saskatchewan, and one of the ways the government projects continued balanced budgets is by assuming a rebound […]

PotashCorp Projects Low Royalties

Todaya€?s fourth-quarter report indicates that PotashCorp paid a€?provincial mining and other taxesa€? of $194 million on potash sales of $3 billion in 2013. In other words, Saskatchewana€?s resource surcharge and potash production tax amounted to just 6.5% of the value of potash sold. Adding the basic Crown royalty (which PotashCorp includes in a€?cost of goods […]

Weir vs. Wall on Potash Profits, Dividends and Royalties

Earlier this week, PotashCorp laid off 440 workers in Saskatchewan. Here are the closing paragraphs from todaya€?s front-page story reporting a letter from Premier Brad Wall asking the company to consider reducing its dividend payments to shareholders in order to maintain jobs in Saskatchewan: Regina economist and former NDP leadership candidate Erin Weir said if […]

Saskatchewan Budget Saved by Falling Loonie

Following last weeka€?s troubling news about potash, the Saskatchewan government released its first-quarter financial report today. The headline seems to be a€?Oil Keeps Budget in Blacka€?, with a forecast increase in oil revenue more than offsetting a forecast decline in potash and other revenues. But the forecast West Texas Intermediate price is only up by […]

PotashCorp Reports Inadequate Royalties

PotashCorp reported today that it paid $81 million of a€?provincial mining and other taxesa€? on $975 million of potash sales in the second quarter of 2013. In other words, Saskatchewana€?s potash production tax and resource surcharge amounted to 8% of potash sales. Adding the basic Crown royalty of just over 2% (which PotashCorp includes in […]

No Vale on the Plains?

I had the following comments in yesterdaya€?s front-page story on Valea€?s decision to postpone its proposed $3-billion potash mine at Kronau, Saskatchewan: Regina economist Erin Weir, who is widely expected to run for the leadership of the provincial NDP, said in a statement Friday that the Vale announcement a€?represents a failure of the Saskatchewan governmenta€?s […]

1% Potash Royalties: Typo or Foreshadowing?

Saskatchewana€?s Ministry of Energy and Resources has released its 2011-12 Annual Report. The potash table (page 36) incredibly shows a€?Royalty/Taxa€? revenue of only $62.5 million in 2010-11 and $38.4 million in 2011-12. These figures amount to just 1.2% and 0.6% respectively of the value of potash sales. I have long argued that Saskatchewana€?s potash royalties […]

Agrium Halves Potash Royalties

Agrium reports that it paid half as much to the people of Saskatchewan in the second quarter as it had in the same quarter of last year. The companya€?s quarterly a€?potash profit and capital taxa€? payment dropped to $8 million from $15 million a year ago. Agriuma€?s only potash mine is in Saskatchewan. The value […]

Mosaic Profit Argues for Higher Royalties

Todaya€?s Mosaic quarterly report provides further evidence that the Government of Saskatchewan should improve its royalty and tax structure to collect a better return on the provincea€?s non-renewable resources like potash. Quarterly Comparison Despite higher potash prices, Mosaic paid lower royalties and resource taxes to Saskatchewan last quarter than in the same quarter of last […]

Agreeing with Hobacka€?s Headline

I have the following letter in todaya€?s Prince Albert Daily Herald (page 4): Reinvest Resource Wealth in Saskatchewan To the editor: I strongly agree with the title of MP Randy Hobacka€?s letter: a€?Siphoning money out of the west is wronga€? (June 9). My proposal is to keep more money in Saskatchewan by collecting more provincial […]

Debating Boyd on Resource Royalties

Saskatchewana€?s Minister of Energy and Resources replied to my op-ed and letter on Dutch disease and resource royalties. On Friday, he was promoted to Minister of Everything. Columnist Murray Mandryk wrote, a€?Given the amount of power Bill Boyd now has in his super-economy portfolio, he may be one fluffy Persian cat and remote desert island […]

Canadian Mining and Manufacturing Stumble

Statistics Canada reported today that the economy shrank in February, driven by declines in resource extraction and manufacturing. Oil and gas extraction as well as hard-rock mining decreased due to temporary shutdowns. However, the most dramatic decline was in potash production, down 19% due to mine closures in Saskatchewan. The provincial government, which is budgeting […]

Wall of Silence on Canpotex

Saskatchewana€?s newspapers reported today that BHP Billiton intends to sell the provincea€?s potash outside of Canpotex, the marketing board that helps to maximize the price for which Saskatchewan potash is exported offshore. BHP executive Tim Cutt stated, a€?We will not market through Canpotex. We talked to the premier (Brad Wall) about that. He understands that.a€? […]

The Politics of Potash

Advocates of low potash royalties are claiming that New Democrats??fared poorly in Saskatchewana€?s recent election because??they proposed higher potash royalties. Of course, potash companies and their boosters would like the NDP to give up this cause. Doing so would be a political mistake for the party and a disservice to the people of Saskatchewan. Most […]

Unrest in Billa€?s Republic of Doyle

PotashCorp CEO Bill Doyle waded into Saskatchewana€?s election campaign on Friday with an op-ed in the provincea€?s two largest newspapers. It was accompanied by a paid advertisement from PotashCorp in Saskatoona€?s StarPhoenix. The company got some free advertising in Reginaa€?s Leader-Post through Bruce Johnstonea€?s column, which repeated Doylea€?s op-ed. The Saskatchewan Party is parroting the […]

Sask Party Shills for PotashCorp

Yesterdaya€?s strong earnings report from the Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan confirms what this blog and the NDP have been contending: even modestly increasing Saskatchewana€?s extremely low royalties on hugely profitable potash mines could fund substantially better provincial public services. The Saskatchewan Party still refuses to review potash royalties. In a well-timed column, Greg Fingas developed […]

What if Potash Tanks?

Regarding the NDP platforma€?s reliance on additional potash revenue, columnist Murray Mandryk asks, a€?What if potash tanks as it did in 2009?a€? Of course, budgets are necessarily based on assumptions about future commodity prices. Saskatchewan Finance estimates that each dollar of change in the price of oil alters provincial revenues by $20 million (page 35). […]

Saskatchewan Platform Comparison

Saskatchewana€?s two major parties have unveiled their election platforms. The NDPa€?s fiscal plan is to collect higher potash royalties and reinvest the proceeds in public priorities like healthcare, education and housing. Columnist Murray Mandryk notes the spectre of Erin Weir. The NDP has expressed a willingness to discuss sharing resource revenues with First Nations. The […]

Sask Party Deficit Math

The Saskatchewan NDP is proposing to collect higher potash royalties and save a portion of the proceeds in a new Bright Futures Fund. The NDP has also expressed??its willingness to negotiate with First Nations about the possibility of resource revenue sharing. The right-wing Saskatchewan Party strangely claims that the NDPa€?s plan a€?would plunge the province […]

Fulton and Rasmussen on Potash

I do not think anyone can disagree with the conclusion of Murray Fulton and Ken Rasmussen that Saskatchewan should a€?proceed with a thoughtful and deliberate process that ensures that the province is the long-term beneficiary of this asset.a€? The provincial opposition is advocating a royalty review process to achieve that goal. The government and potash […]

Potash Royalties: Lessons from Def Leppard

Advocates of low potash royalties have floated some pretty bizarre arguments. Last week, the Saskatchewan Party put out a news release emphasizing that local farmers use some 0.6% of provincial potash output, as though this tiny sliver of domestic consumption somehow complicates the provincea€?s interest in maximizing revenue as a potash producer. Equally strange are […]

PotashCorpa€?s Fuzzy Math

In a couple of recent posts, I threw down the gauntlet for PotashCorp to disclose how much corporate income tax and Crown royalties it paid to the Government of Saskatchewan. As Bruce Johnstone reports, it has finally done so: While PotashCorp paid $77 million in resource surcharges in 2010, it also paid $82 million in […]

PotashCorp Responds

Todaya€?s Saskatoon StarPhoenix and Regina Leader-Post cover my recent analysis of PotashCorpa€?s annual report. I suggested that the company may be paying less corporate income tax to Saskatchewan than to Trinidad. PotashCorp could clear things up anytime by simply disclosing the amount of corporate tax it paid to the Saskatchewan government. Rather than doing so, […]

Conservatives for Higher Potash Royalties

Growing up in Saskatchewan, I never imagined myself blogging in praise of Rick Swenson. First, blogs did not exist then. Second, I generally disagreed with Swenson, a former cabinet minister in Grant Devinea€?s Progressive Conservative government. Swenson is back as leader of the provincial Progressive Conservative party, whose caucus??quit to join with right-wing Liberals and […]

PotashCorp, US Regulators and Bruce Johnstone

Multinational corporations generally provide more detail to the US Security and Exchange Commission than in their Canadian annual reports. Thank goodness for American disclosure requirements. Along with its 2010 Annual Report, PotashCorp released its Annual Report on Form 10-K (a Security and Exchange Commission filing) on Friday afternoon. The following section is on pages 14 […]

PotashCorpa€?s Annual Report: The Fine Print

The Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan posted its 2010 annual report yesterday. Ita€?s always worth taking a closer look at documents released on a Friday afternoon. Those interested in public revenues should see pages 109, 110 and 111. Note 19a€?s breakdown of a€?Provincial Mining and Other Taxesa€? confirms something that I had suspected. PotashCorp paid zero […]

The Great Saskatchewan Potash Debate

The comment pages of Saskatchewana€?s newspapers have been abuzz with debate about potash royalties since my latest op-ed on the subject appeared in the Saskatoon StarPhoenix a couple of weeks ago. Two days later, political columnist Murray Mandryk made the case that??the province??should demand higher royalties rather than just accepting a few more jobs and […]

Raise Potash Royalties

This blog has long been critiquing Saskatchewana€?s inadequate potash royalties. But every time I check the numbers, I am again shocked by how low they have fallen. In 2010, the Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan paid just a nickel in provincial royalties for every dollar of gross margin it made on potash. I have the following […]