Foreign Investment Caution Needed
The Federal government needs to exercise transparency and openness in all future discussions regarding the proposed takeover of Canadian energy giant Nexen by the Chinese government.
This resource belongs to the people of Canada, not to government officials, not to the Premier of Alberta, and not to China. If the Federal government really believes that the opinion of the Canadian public will be a factor in the decision, then public hearings should be held by a committee of the House of Commons. I have introduced a motion in the House (M-410) calling for such a committee to be established.
Under current rules, takeovers such as the Nexen deal are permissible if they are found to be of “net benefit” to Canada. But what “net benefit” means needs to be clearly defined in public so that every Canadian understands what exactly is being looked at and considered when the government makes a final decision on the Nexen deal (or any future deal). In this case for example, is the Chinese government a fair and equal partner to Canadian corporations on human rights, worker rights, and environmental concerns? Or are Chinese corporations cross-subsidizing or competing unfairly with free enterprise corporations?
I am optimistic that one of the opposition parties will pick up the mantle for this cause and will not hesitate to take further action. Canada is currently running a $30 billion trade deficit with China. If the Chinese government put these resources into purchasing Canada’s corporations then they could hypothetically purchase two Nexens a year. Thus, we must proceed carefully as we define our future. I think before we sell the family farm out from under our children and our grandchildren, we need a full and wholesome understanding of our country to country rules for fair economic engagement.
What do you think?