11/03/2012 10:19 EDT | Updated 01/03/2013 05:12 EST

Nexen-CNOOC Deal Review Extension Due To Fear Of Public Backlash, NDP Says


OTTAWA - The New Democrats are criticizing the Harper government for extending a review of the controversial takeover bid of oil producer Nexen.

The government issued a news release last night saying it was extending the review of a Chinese state owned company's takeover bid until December 10th.

Industry Minister Christian Paradis says such extensions are not unusual, but New Democrat MP Peter Julian isn't buying it.

He says when politicians make announcements on a Friday night it's because they're scared of a public backlash.

Julian says the government wants to rubber-stamp the 15.1 billion dollar deal, but is trying to buy time because of growing public opposition.

The Nexen deal has generated concerns from a number of quarters and Prime Minister Harper has acknowledged it "raises a range of difficult policy questions."

The NDP's concerns include national security, the environment and human rights.

And Canada's spy agency CSIS has warned of foreign investment by state-owned firms in general, though it didn't mention China specifically.

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