Globe and Mail columnist Doug Saunders writes, “At some point before Dec. 10, Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his cabinet will have to choose between less-free markets or more government involvement in the economy. Mr. Harper will have to decide whether Ottawa will accept or reject two foreign purchases of Canadian petroleum companies… What complicates things is that the buyers in the Nexen and Progress Energy cases are state-owned corporations: China’s giant oil company CNOOC, and Malaysia’s Petronas. …If Asian governments own a large chunk of the Canadian oil patch, is it really private enterprise?”
The columnist points to Preston Manning’s comment that, “Takeovers by state-owned enterprises, especially those owned by a government whose values are at fundamental variance with our own, should be opposed on principle.” He then comments, “Stephen Harper himself is beginning to sound like the recording secretary of the Leaside chapter of the Council of Canadians: ‘We’re determined’, he told reporters on Nov. 3, ‘to make sure that while we welcome foreign investment that we make sure that it’s in the best interest of this country.'”
Saunders also highlights, “In the three decades since (Brian Mulroney said ‘Canada is open for business’ in 1985), Industry Canada has received 1,664 applications for foreign takeovers of Canadian companies, leading to a foreign-ownership stake of $915-billion. So far, it has formally rejected only one. …(But) Canada remains a hyperglobalized country: That $915-billion in foreign ownership is still smaller than the $941-billion Canadian companies have spent buying foreign firms.”
Oh, and for the record, while Leaside is a neighbourhood in Toronto, and we have a Toronto chapter, we don’t have a Leaside chapter.