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  • Could skyrocketing private sector debt spell economic crisis? June 21, 2017
    Our latest report finds that Canada is racking up private sector debt faster than any other advanced economy in the world, putting the country at risk of serious economic consequences. The report, Addicted to Debt, reveals that Canada has added $1 trillion in private sector debt over the past five years, with the corporate sector […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • The energy industry’s insatiable thirst for water threatens First Nations’ treaty-protected rights June 21, 2017
    Our latest report looks at the growing concerns that First Nations in British Columbia have with the fossil fuel industry’s increasing need for large volumes of water for natural gas fracking operations. Titled Fracking, First Nations and Water: Respecting Indigenous rights and better protecting our shared resources, it describes what steps should be taken to […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Betting on Bitumen: Alberta's energy policies from Lougheed to Klein June 8, 2017
    The role of government in Alberta, both involvement and funding, has been critical in ensuring that more than narrow corporate interests were served in the development of the province’s bitumen resources.  A new report contrasts the approaches taken by two former premiers during the industry’s early development and rapid expansion periods.  The Lougheed government invested […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Canada-China FTA will leave workers worse off June 2, 2017
    Global Affairs Canada is currently consulting Canadians on a possible Canada-China free trade agreement. In CCPA’s submission to this process, CCPA senior researcher Scott Sinclair argues that an FTA based on Canada’s standard template would almost certainly reinforce rather than improve upon Canada’s imbalanced and deleterious trade with China. It can also be expected to […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
  • Faulty assumptions about pipelines and tidewater access May 30, 2017
    The federal and Alberta governments and the oil industry argue that pipelines to tidewater will unlock new markets where Canadian oil can command a better price than in the US, where the majority of Canadian oil is currently exported. Both governments have approved Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain Expansion Project, but a new report finds that […]
    Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
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Sask Party Shills for PotashCorp

Yesterday’s strong earnings report from the Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan confirms what this blog and the NDP have been contending: even modestly increasing Saskatchewan’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 the theme that this gift to potash companies is the provincial election’s most expensive promise.

The Sask Party issued a carefully-worded press release implying that PotashCorp invested $590 million in Saskatchewan and paid nearly $332 million to the provincial government in the third quarter of 2011. Both suggestions are misleading.

While some commentators wrote that PotashCorp reinvested $590 million in Saskatchewan, the Sask Party itself stopped short of making that claim since this figure is a worldwide total. The company reports only that “the majority of the $590 million in capital expenditures” were in potash rather than nitrogen or phosphate.

The Sask Party compares this figure to $700 million of potash gross margin, at least 90% of which is from Saskatchewan as opposed to New Brunswick. If two-thirds of PotashCorp’s investment was in Saskatchewan potash mines, it reinvested something like 63% of its gross margin (i.e. $590*0.67/($700*0.9)), a far cry from the 84% put forward by the Sask Party. In contrast, 100% of every dollar in additional royalties would be reinvested in the province.

The Sask Party went on to claim, “PotashCorp paid another $332 million in potash royalties and income taxes in the third quarter – the vast majority of which would have been paid in Saskatchewan.” This figure is the sum of “provincial mining and other taxes” ($53 million) and “income taxes” ($279 million). The $53 million is Saskatchewan’s potash production tax and resource surcharge.

The $279 million is worldwide corporate income tax, more of which goes to the Canadian federal government than to provincial governments. (Note that the Sask Party wrote “paid in Saskatchewan” not “paid to Saskatchewan.”)

PotashCorp has confirmed that it paid only $82 million of corporate tax to the Saskatchewan government throughout 2010, less than it paid to Trinidad. Saskatchewan people should get a better return.

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