The big prime ministerial deed done this Friday was Harper's much-awaited blessing of the sale of the Calgary-based Nexen oil sands corporation to the cuddly commies at the China National Offshore Oil Coporation. According to some, our government is evidently making major decisions about international commerce using no coherent human logic whatsoever.
This Thursday a new treaty is due to come into effect between Canada and China without debate or public discussion. It is called an Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPA) with China. his agreement will allow both countries to go to binding arbitration at an international tribunal.
Under this agreement, "unreasonable" attempts to stop foreign takeovers could be brought to this very arbitration board and either mandated to be allowed or incur huge fines against Canada. Unsurprisingly, a lot of Canadians, especially in the West, don't like the sound of that
There might be perfectly legitimate reasons why Ottawa may decide to block the proposed acquisition of Nexen Inc. of Calgary by CNOOC Limited, the state owned energy giant from China.
But the notion that "foreigners are taking over Canada's natural resources" is not one of them.
That argument is factually and demonstrably false. Our governments own the vast majority of these natural resources. That isn't about to change any time soon. Canadians should be aware that there is no risk whatsoever that we would lose ownership or control of them.
The perception is that Canada-U.S. relations are piling up with potential court cases and chilling diplomacy. Ignoring or bullying our closest friend and ally to improve our trade with China knowing their political environment and economic system seems quite risky. Does it worth failing our friendship with the U.S.?
In a recent poll, 69 per cent of Canadians think the government should not approve the China's take-over of Calgary-based energy company Nexen. Doubtless, China needs energy sources. But it seems folly for a country like Canada to sell and loose control of a resource that is increasingly going to be needed in the future, and which will always have willing customers elsewhere.
MP David Kilgour and others have pointed out that the government has an obligation to prevent control of its resources being in the hands or another country. Cooperate, sure, if a deal is in Canada's interests, but to cede control to a regime like China's is not only folly, but verges on treason.
The variations between Canadian and Australian politics and policies are as interesting as the fundamental similarities between them. Both are highly globalized, mixing multiculturalism with modified versions of the Westminster parliamentary system. Although in the past this nationalism has been directed toward the United States, it is now the question of Chinese access that has become the lightening rod of controversy.