Surely Justin, there are ways to "strengthen economic ties" with China, shy of takeovers like Nexen?
As a contender for the leader of the Liberal Party and a possible future Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau would be far better off enunciating the position that Canada needs a clear set of rules that govern foreign takeovers of Canadian businesses (like the need for reciprocity, etc. as recommended by thoughtful people like Diane Francis), rather than entering the fray with one-off support for the takeover of the day.
Instead Justin ends up looking like a pawn for those with commercial interests in the Nexen deal, rather than someone capable of leading the country for the benefit or more than just the one percenters
Justin Trudeau backs Chinese takeover of Nexen as way to strengthen economic ties
Trudeau made the comments in an opinion column published in some Postmedia newspapers and websites Tuesday, arguing that China’s objectives are not “sinister” and that Canada is in an enviable position for engaging the Asian power.
“China has a game plan,” the Liberal leadership contender wrote. “There is nothing inherently sinister about that. They have needs and the world has resources to meet those needs.
“We Canadians have more of those resources — and therefore more leverage — than any nation on Earth.”
The Chinese National Offshore Oil Company’s $15.1-billion takeover bid for Nexen has become a sensitive issue for Stephen Harper’s government, which is expected to rule in the coming weeks on whether it will accept the deal.
There has been concern — including from some Conservative backbenchers — that permitting CNOOC to take over Nexen represents a threat to Canada’s national security.
Others, however, have warned that rejecting the takeover will anger Chinese officials and scare off other potential foreign investors.
In his opinion article, Trudeau said Canada should use its natural resources to build a foundation for broad, long-term economic engagement with the Asian power — and approving the Nexen deal would go a long way to accomplishing that goal.
“Why is the CNOOC-Nexen deal good for Canada?” Trudeau wrote. “Because Chinese and other foreign investors will create middle-class Canadian jobs …. More fundamentally, it is in Canada’s interest to broaden and deepen our relationship with the world’s second-largest economy.”
Trudeau, who will be in Calgary Tuesday, said conditions should be attached to foreign investors that require them to abide by Canadian laws and operate in good faith. And he acknowledged that there will be national security concerns in certain sectors.
“However, in the CNOOC case, Chinese ownership of three per cent of oilsands leases hardly constitutes a national security issue,” he wrote.
“Most important, the big picture isn’t about CNOOC or Petronas, but the many opportunities like them that will follow in their footsteps.”
Malaysian state-owned energy company Petronas is awaiting word from the Harper government on its plan to take over Calgary-based natural gas producer Progress Energy after its initial proposal was rejected last month.
Trudeau took a shot at the Harper government for what he called its “erratic approach and secretive behaviour” when it comes to reviewing foreign takeovers, and its failure to lay out a clear, public strategy for engaging Asia.
“The government has failed to provide the context, to make the positive case for Asia,” he wrote. “It is therefore as difficult to reject bad ideas like the Northern Gateway as it is to approve good opportunities like the CNOOC and Petronas deals.”
Trudeau has opposed the proposed Northern Gateway, citing environmental concerns.
The overarching requirement is to translate China’s interest in Canadian natural resources into long-term economic prosperity for this country, he said, especially as the Asian nation’s population grows and its infrastructure needs increase.
“We should be creative when thinking about what a trade deal with China could look like,” Trudeau wrote.
While heavy on emphasizing the need for economic engagement with China, his article makes only a passing mention of the country’s democratic and human rights record, referring to the need to engage with the Chinese instead of isolating them.
It also does not mention what the government should do when national security is a factor in a proposed foreign takeover, although an official within Trudeau’s camp indicated the Liberal leadership candidate is not in favour of different rules for privately owned and state-owned foreign companies.