Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall was gushing with gratitude Wednesday after the announcement that federal Industry Minister Tony Clement has, for now, rejected a proposed foreign takeover of the Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan.
"I want to especially thank Minister Clement and his team," Wall told reporters during a news conference in Regina.
Wall said he phoned Clement shortly after the announcement to express his gratitude for what he called "the right decision for Saskatchewan."
Wall said the last few days had been a "roller-coaster" of emotion for him as he waited for Clement's decision.
Saskatchewan had lobbied hard to persuade federal officials to reject the bid by Australia-based BHP Billiton to acquire PotashCorp for $130 US per share, or an estimated $40 billion US.
Wall said his government's view that the deal would hurt the province was reached with difficulty, and he sensed the federal minister had struggled as well.
"We are still a nation that is open … we are a free-trading country. But we have been blessed with a great amount of natural resources … and we may have to act differently in that regard," he said. "This is a very strategic resource."
Wall noted that 53 per of world potash production is in Saskatchewan and that PotashCorp controls about one-third of that.
The premier said he understood that BHP has 30 days to consider its position.
"This isn't a celebration. What this is is a 'thank-you,'" Wall said. "We know there's still days ahead in the process."
The provincial legislature erupted in cheers when the federal decision was announced.
"I distinctly heard screaming," said CBC News legislative reporter Stefani Langenegger, who was in the building at the time.
Government caucus members "jumped up and hugged each other," she said.