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Student unions fret over potash deal

BHP takeover could cost the Sask treasury as much as $6 billion


 

I wouldn’t think that the pending takeover of Potash Corporation by BHP Billiton would peak the interest of student union representatives, but apparently when they’re riled up everything becomes a post-secondary education funding issue

Student leaders at the University of Saskatchewan and University of Regina  are asking students to support Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall’s vehement opposition of the takeover. Wall is currently lobbying the federal government to stop the $36.8 billion deal that would see Potash Corp handed over to BHP.

The student’s concerns stem from the hit the Saskatchewan treasury stands to take, at at estimated $2 – 6 billion over the next decade, if the deal goes through. According to a report from the Conference Board of Canada, the deal could mean a near $200 million loss in revenue per year over 10 years, considering BHP will likely take advantage of their more favorable tax benefits as a US company.

The students are nervous about the affects that less revenue for the province could have on the generous amount of funding Saskatchewan universities have received over the past few years from the provincial government.

Both unions have sent letters to federal industry minister Tony Clement, asking him to support Wall’s efforts.

Although Potash Corp. has also been very generous in their donations to the U of S, university administrators are not taking sides on the issue of the potential takeover, despite the awkwardly timed pep rally organized by the university held on Friday at the U of S to recognize the substantial donations from Potash Corp that exceeded the $10 million mark in 2005, according to the Star Phoenix:

“I would hope that it does not look like we’re taking a stance on that,” said Heather Magotiaux, vice-president of university advancement.

“We’re certainly not in a position to make any kind of comment on what’s happening in terms of the business of potash.”

While Potash Corp is indirectly a very important contributor to the financial well being of universities in Saskatchewan, and employs hundreds if not thousands of students after graduation, I find it funny that student union leaders would take such a strong stance against the hostile U.S. takeover of the company because it may mean a potential hit to provincial funding for post secondary education.

These students should be more concerned by the fact that their universities’ financial stability has to indirectly rely on the well being of a private company by relying so heavily on the well being of the province’s budget. I would think that after universities everywhere were hit hard this year by slashes in government spending due to the economic recession, student unions would loosen their loyalty to the idea that public funding is alway the answer to all of higher education’s problems. Apparently not.


 

Student unions fret over potash deal

  1. Why don’t we sell everything and become slaves to other countries?

    Look at China, it has long vision. Capitalism lives by quaters.

  2. I can’t understand the last paragraph’s relevance: universities that rely on private funding have been hitten just as hard by the crisis.

  3. “These students should be more concerned by the fact that their universities’ financial stability has to indirectly rely on the well being of a private company by relying so heavily on the well being of the province’s budget.”

    You should look into more funding for your school so that you can learn to actually compose a sentence that makes sense. Third year English major? My third grader could do better.

    I find it funny that an illiterate student from the U of M has an opinion about what our university student unions in Saskatchewan are doing instead of trying to improve her own education.

  4. Students are struggling with high costs of education because Universities and Colleges have felt the erosion of public funding for education over the last several decades in Canada… therefore we should support a reduction in government revenue? I’m sorry, but the editorializing in this article is not only wrong, it is illogical.

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