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Why The Sale of Nexen Is Troubling

The sale of NEXEN to the so called CNOOC state corporate sent a strong and controversial message to our partners, especially the United States. From a geopolitical perspective totally ignored by PM Harper, I would like to remind our audience that NORAD exists and we are, as Canadians, part of it.

Economic paradigms never overwhelm nor supercede the military ones, the latter being always first and hauling the former. PM Winston Churchill knew it from the very beginning while FDR waited after Pearl Harbor before realizing that Adolf Hitler and Emperor Hirohito preferred by far the sound of canons to the shouts of the stock exchange.

Private properties exist in China but in the very minimal sense of estate properties or property of the land. We must recognize that there exist a set of laws, a Chinese civil code governing for instance the sale of piece of lands or lots to private individuals. It is the very basis of free enterprise that they retained, namely the middle age of a capitalistic economy, and it does not go far beyond.

But there is also some kind of stock market, a simulation so to speak, to accommodate public corporations mostly, a lowlife Chinese version of Wall Street. But nobody believes, here and there, that China recognizes legally and supports an independent and free shareholding. Shanghai stock exchange is far from open to foreign investors, the institution being compelled to a central authority and obliged to its decrees.

In other words, behind these major Chinese state corporations lie the powerful Communist Party and its Secretary General, separation of powers, elected officials and a check and balance are nowhere to be found! In other words, the Chinese stock market seems a proxy for the central power, a replicate of itself, run by a Stalinist establishment and the Ministry of Security, like did the former KGB before was struck down the Berlin Wall.

Therefore, based on the true nature of our free and individualistic economy, the sale of Nexen to a foreign government seems at first glance pretty much questionable.

Moreover, when we start taking into account geopolitical parameters, it gets worse. For many elderly among us, it could be a reminder of Churchill's speeches before the House of Commons vehemently denouncing the abuses of the Nazis and predicting WWII. These political enlightenments of an already old man, dealing with its personal devils, appear to historians now and then, tragically true. Therefore, are we facing a similar threat with China muscling up its navy and building new a generation of carriers?

Scrutinizing International law and Canada's foreign relations, precisely our commitments to our friends and allies, mostly the United States, will provide us clues to answer the question about China. At first glance, it seems that our Premier Minister ignored or has a short-lived memory of some fundamentals of Canadian history before its cabinet recommended the sale of Nexen.

In June 1958, under the leadership of PM John Diefenbaker, the Canadian Parliament including the liberals, sided with the United States and voted in favor of a plan integrating Canada with the United States to an air defense system, at the height of the cold war.

As an immediate consequence, plans to develop and manufacture the famous Avro CF-105 Arrow to defend Canada against the Soviet Union, were cancelled.

Ever since, and following the Cruise Missile Case (1985) that led to Operation Dismantle and the landmark decision of the Supreme Court, we can reasonably assume de facto that Canada has relinquished to become a nuclear power and brought the utmost of national security, namely the protection against a nuclear and conventional attack by air, under the umbrella of the United States.

To assume the opposite would be foolish and just the thought of it could trigger a strong, justified and bold reaction from the U.S. Fort Drum military base, too close to our borders many would say and very operational, is a stringent reminder of friendship limitations: obviously, there are red flags and red lines to never be crossed without consequences. Geopolitics has its own paradigms.

Even Pierre-Eliot Trudeau never questioned our commitment to NORAD.

Therefore, why did our PM ignored our most basic commitment? CNOOC is a state corporation: it's China, a communist country with no human rights, nor constitutional agenda!

Amongst the many political consequences of NORAD sole existence is the impossibility, practical and theoretical, of Quebec independence: the breaking up from Canada, a country that has already relinquished the most important part of its sovereignty on national security, is not imaginable. As long as the U.S. will see a geopolitical advantage to a strong and united Canada, our homeland will not fall apart.

However if our own PM, or any other PM of any another political party that comes to power, decides to sell our homeland piece by piece to a foreign country -- like in the BC mining industry, another sad example where the Chinese leadership transport Chinese workers from China instead of hiring BC workers -- we will be facing a new challenge that could amount to possible corruption, intelligence and espionage, instead of a direct attack against our territory and people. But the result and the impact on our sovereignty would be the same!

That's why the sale of Nexen to CNOOC is so troubling.

Me Claude Laferrière, Lawyer

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