Government must step in to protect Saskatchewan potash: NDP

With today’s announcement that the contentious Yancoal Potash Solution Mine has received conditional approval following the environmental assessment, the NDP is calling on the Sask. Party to come clean about what conditions they will demand to ensure the foreign state-owned company won’t put China’s interests ahead of Saskatchewan’s.

“Throughout this process, the Sask. Party – including the local MLA – has ignored the concerns from those in the area about the protection of local land, water and communities and, after two significant pipeline leaks in as many weeks, Saskatchewan people are understandably concerned about the quality of assessment, inspection, and protection they can expect from the Sask. Party,” said NDP Environment Critic Cathy Sproule. “Now, after wasting billions in surpluses and savings during the economic boom and watching jobs leave the province, the Sask. Party is desperate and have been sleep walking toward this mine that could hand over control of the Saskatchewan potash industry to a state-owned corporation from China.”

Energy and Resources Critic Buckley Belanger joined Sproule in noting that development is vital to the long-term success of the potash industry as well as the province’s economy, but that it must be done in a way that is most beneficial to the people of Saskatchewan.

“It wasn’t that long ago that the Premier was running to every microphone he could find to say, while foreign investment is good, we need to ‘protect, for future generations, the strategic interests of Saskatchewan,” Belanger said. “So, how can he and the rest of the Sask. Party government ignore concerns by Saskatchewan workers and producers about the economic impacts this mine will have on the industry?”

Pointing out that China is the biggest customer of Saskatchewan potash, Belanger also said that thousands of jobs in the potash sector could be affected.

“There are still so many unanswered questions but the Sask. Party seems ready to just let our biggest customer have access to our natural resource and, instead of getting solid commitments, once again, this government is taking a ‘just trust us’ approach,” said Belanger. “That didn’t work with the carbon capture project or the Regina Bypass project, and that approach doesn’t do anything to make the people of Southey or the rest of Saskatchewan believe that their government is putting their best interests first.”