Last week, a casualty of China's unfair treatment of foreign investors spoke privately about the new trade deal signed between Ottawa and Beijing. Ottawa capitulated to China on everything. The deal, using a hockey metaphor, allows only a select few to play on Team Canada on a small patch of ice in China and to be fouled, without remedies or referees.
Sovereign-owned or controlled enterprises (SOEs) from questionable countries have no business in the boardrooms of Canada or other free enterprise nations. This concern about SOEs is not just about China. Russia is another questionable regime with companies investing here and all over the world that are owned by The Kremlin or by oligarchs who answer to it.
If the CNOOC/Nexen approval is given, before the Keystone pipeline is approved, a new set of questions for the Americans will be opened up. Letting China Inc. have special access could give President Obama a reason not to approve Keystone, and could also Romney, if he wins, a reason to consider not approving the line as he has pledged to do on Day One.
Clearly, China is testing whether this Boy Scout of a nation will roll over. Turning down Nexen should be mark the beginning of a Canadian conversation about governance. Canada must decide what kind of table will be set to encourage investment here, who will be invited to dine and how guests must behave. Otherwise, Canada itself will become dinner. There should be no compromise and a turndown need not be difficult, won't burn any bridges and can be done elegantly in this way.