"Harper is saying what Canadians want to hear while doing what they
don't want" - AFL president
EDMONTON, Dec. 7, 2012 /CNW/ - Prime Minister Harper's supposedly "tough
new conditions" for foreign takeovers are nothing more than a public
relations ploy aimed at masking the fact that he has just allowed a
foreign government to seize unprecedented control over Canada's energy
In an announcement late Friday, Dec. 7, Prime Minister Stephen Harper
green-lit Chinese oil giant CNOOC's $15-billion takeover of
Alberta-based Nexen, but claimed that new conditions would prevent such
deals in the future.
"The Conservatives are spinning this as a 'sweeping overhaul' of foreign
investment rules," McGowan said."The new 'guidelines' for foreign
takeover decisions will still see the process take place behind closed
doors and be conducted by the Industry Minister."
"The 'new process' Harper has proposed is the same as the old process,
which just brought us the largest foreign oil patch takeover in
Canadian history," McGowan said. "They're saying what Canadians want to
hear, but doing exactly what Canadians don't want. It's the Republican
Tea-Party playbook: tell a bald-faced lie, and hope no one questions
Under the new conditions proposed, the federal government will weigh how
much influence state-owned foreign takeovers will have over their
acquisitions and an industry, and how much control over Canadian
resources this will give the foreign government. Regulators will
examine this in private, behind closed doors, and with no public input
"How do you measure this influence? What is the measurement on which
this will be evaluated? These are meaningless rules - it's just a
smokescreen," McGowan said. "Sinopec only has a nine per cent stake in
Syncrude…but they used that nine per cent stake to veto upgrading
projects. Is there a measurement of how bad that is for Canada?"
The proposed CNOOC takeover has been criticized by Canadians across a
broad political spectrum, including Preston Manning, the New Democratic
Party and the Communications Energy and Paperworker's Union.
"CNOOC is not your typical oil company. It doesn't operate on market
principles, and it isn't beholden to investors. If they had been
serious about defending the interest of Canadians, they would have
nixed the deal outright," McGowan said. "They had a good pretext
already - Harper's 2006 campaign pledge 'not to export more raw bitumen
to countries with laxer carbon standards than North America's.' If they
had cared about state-owned foreign ownership, they would have scuttled
The AFL will release a comprehensive report on China's involvement in
Alberta's Oil Sands on Monday in Calgary.
SOURCE: Alberta Federation of Labour
For further information:
Gil McGowan, President, Alberta Federation of Labour at 780-218-9888 (cell)
Olav Rokne, AFL Communications Director at 780-289-6528 (cell) or via email email@example.com.