Premier Scott Moe is joining provincial political leaders, both past and present, in questioning why Nutrien’s top executives don’t live in Saskatchewan.
“I’ve reached out to the board chair to ask him to update (me) as to the operations in Nutrien’s head office in Saskatchewan, and to their intent of those operations as we move forward,” Moe said outside the legislative assembly Tuesday.
Saskatchewan’s top potash executives not living in the province isn’t a new problem for politicians.
Under it’s former name, Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan, politicians urged executives to relocate to Saskatoon from Chicago as the company examined a hostile takeover bid from BHP Billiton Inc. in 2011.
Those sentiments appeared again when the company merged with Calgary-based Agrium in January.
On Monday, it was discovered that only one Nutrien’s senior executive, president of potash Susan Jones, lives in Saskatoon.
A 1994 piece of legislation governing Potash Corp. or any of its future forms states that its head office functions, including the CEO and other senior executives, must be carried out in Saskatchewan.
“The act is clear, with respect to head office operations, that they should be conducted within the province,” Moe said.
“If we decide that we see that there might be some contravention to the act, then we’ll discuss those opportunities at that point and time.”
Opposition leader Ryan Meili doesn’t think that answer is good enough.
“That’s not particularly strong,” Meili said of the premier’s request to speak to the board chair. “We have legislation in place that says that this company has to have head office jobs in the province, and the premier seems to be asking nicely for an update.”
“That needs to be followed up with a, ‘This is legislated. If those jobs aren’t here, there will be consequences.'”
Meili said discussions like the one Moe is planning should have been happening for months and that it’s time to take a hard stance.
“That’s the kind of leadership the premier should be showing.”
Meili and Moe didn’t suggest a penalty for Nutrien if the company is contravening provincial law, but said they would review the legislation to determine the next steps.
Nutrien’s senior executives are eligible to receive tax benefits as part of a potash production that allows companies up to $25,000 for keeping those positions in Saskatoon.
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