Today’s Leader-Post has a report on a speech Potash Corp of Saskatchewan CEO Bill Doyle (pictured) gave at a Regina & District Chamber of Commerce gathering yesterday where he described Saskatchewan as province once dominated by a “philosophy of failure” and “envy”.
In suggesting that those bad old days were now behind us, Doyle (who in the past few years has earned in excess of $120 million annually in salary and stock options) pointed to the experience of his own company, which he has been associated with since 1987.
In the 1970s, the Potash Corp existed as a Crown Corporation under the Allan Blakeney government. In 1989 it was privatized by the Grant Devine government. Throughout that period and into the 1990s, industry performance was pretty stagnant. In the early 2000s, the Lorne Calvert NDP government introduced changes to the royalty structure that paved the way for a significant expansion in potash production and the development of several new mines.
Now, and for decades to come, Saskatchewan enjoys preeminent status in the world as the Saudi Arabia of potash — a mineral used primarily in fertilizer that was deposited here hundreds of millions years ago when Saskatchewan was the site of a huge inland sea.
It would be stretching the bounds of credibility to credit Doyle and his fellow potash CEOs with securing our future prosperity by locating that inland sea in Saskatchewan all those hundreds of millions of years ago. But where they did shine is in arranging for China and India, with a combined population of 2.6 billion, to transition from Developing to Developed status with massive manufacturing capacity and large and growing middle class populations eager to upgrade their diets and acquire other trappings of Western prosperity.
That was a true masterstroke on their behalf, creating a vast market for our natural resources like potash, uranium, oil and gas, heavy metals and whatnot.
Truly, the Illinois-born Doyle and his colleagues are the most wonderful thing to ever happen to Saskatchewan and we should all be eternally grateful for their decision to earn their multimillion dollar livings here.