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NEWS: Opposition to Chinese-takeover of Nexen grows

The Canadian Press reports, “Canada’s junior finance minister says he’s getting a lot of negative feedback about the proposed takeover of Canadian oil producer Nexen Inc. by a state-owned Chinese firm. Ted Menzies, who is from Alberta, said Tuesday there’s been plenty of interest among constituents and fellow Conservative MPs over the controversial $15.1-billion bid for Nexen from China National Offshore Oil Corp. And while some are expressing enthusiasm, the majority are expressing concern about the deal. …The issue was front and centre in the House upon the restart of Parliament on Monday, with NDP critic Peter Julian calling for public hearings on the issue.”

“(For the Conservatives), another consideration is that rejection would send the wrong signal to Beijing at a time when Ottawa is attempting to negotiate a mutual investment deal and exploring closer economic integration — including a free trade agreement — with the world’s second largest economy.”

In July, Council of Canadians chairperson Maude Barlow stated, “The CNOOC bid to takeover Nexen is the latest development in a deeply troubling trend. Canada is already the most ‘open for business’ country in the world. Anyone can come in and take what they want, make as much money as they want, pay next to no royalties, and now not be governed by an environmental assessment process. The Harper government’s top priority is to expand tar sands production and make sure these oil companies have enough pipelines to get it onto the market, no matter what the environmental or health impacts. Harper is so desperate to do this that he is signing investment protection agreements with China and other countries that give foreign oil, gas and resource companies powerful legal tools to frustrate or block environmental or public health protections.”

Trade campaigner Stuart Trew added, “The Nexen buyout will mean significantly expanding the environmental destruction of the tar sands to water, the climate and Indigenous peoples. It might be a good money-maker investment for CNOOC, but China is clearly hoping this investment and expansion will put renewed pressure for unsafe and unpopular pipelines to the West Coast. All of this becomes more difficult to control and regulate under Canada’s free trade and investment deals and should be reason enough to cancel the purchase.”

The article notes, “Ottawa announced late last month it had launched a required 45-day review of the transaction under the Canada Investment Act, meaning a decision should be known sometime in November, unless a 30-day extension is requested.”