OTTAWA _ The federal government approved Friday the takeovers of Calgary-based Nexen Inc. (TSX:NXY) and Progress Energy Resources Corp. (TSX:PRQ) by Asian state-controlled firms.
China's CNOOC and Malaysia's Petronas received the OK from the government as part of a wide-ranging update of foreign takeover rules.
However, the government said it will only consider future takeover deals in the oilsands by state-owned companies in exceptional circumstances.
And all state-owned enterprises seeking to buy large Canadian companies will face greater scrutiny about how they operate and how much control their home governments would have over how they do business.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper says foreign state control of oilsands development has reached the point where further control would not be beneficial to Canada.
"When we say that Canada is open for business, we do not mean that Canada is for sale to foreign governments,'' Harper said.
The China National Offshore Oil Co., CNOOC, launched a friendly $15.1-billion bid for Nexen in July, providing a series of guarantees to the Canadian government on job creation, head office location and corporate governance.
In a statement, Industry Minister Christian Paradis said he was satisfied that the deal would be a net benefit to Canada.
Initially, Malaysia's Petronas $6-billion bid for Progress Energy was rejected by the federal government and the company later revised its proposal.
Paradis said the company made "significant commitments'' in several areas that satisfied him the deal was in net benefit to Canada.
In revising the guidelines for state-owned enterprises, the Conservatives are answering criticisms that the rules were too vague to provide certainty for investors.
But at the same time, they responded to Canadians' concerns about the implications of allowing foreign-owned firms to play a major role in Canada's natural resources sector.
The government made three major changes to the guidelines Friday.
First, they increased the threshold for review under the Investment Canada Act for takeovers by foreign private investors to $1 billion from $330 million.
But the $330 million threshold will remain in place for state-owned enterprises.
They also gave the Minister of Industry the ability to extend the time available to conduct a national security review of proposed investments.
The CNOOC deal did not trigger a security review.
But the biggest change comes for state-owned enterprises, with the government elaborating extensively on how proposed bids from those companies will be handled in the future.
They set out five specific elements that investors will need to demonstrate in order for the government to consider approving a proposal.
At the top of the list is that the investment is commercially oriented and that the investor is free from political influence.
Canada's spy agency raised a red flag on foreign investment by state-owned firms in its annual report earlier this year.
Though CSIS didn't name specific countries or companies, it said certain state-owned enterprises have pursued what it called opaque agendas or received clandestine intelligence support for their pursuits in Canada.
CNOOC and Nexen also had a pre-existing relationship. Last year, CNOOC scooped up Opti Canada, Nexen's beleaguered minority partner in its troubled Long Lake oilsands project. The two firms also worked together in the Gulf of Mexico.
OP, none of this is interesting or even appropriate on a gay gossip board. As well, Canada is a boring country politically, both staid and predictable despite which party leads the government, and your fascination with the minutia of the left-ishy but not really leftist government of the day is utterly tedious. You might want to find a more appropriate place on the web to share your fascination, but I'm sure your myopic perspective will only serve to fortify your need to try to make Canada 'happen' on this board. I'm embarrassed for you.
This is officially the most boring thread I have ever seen posted here.
Well, they [italic]are[/italic] Canadian.
I guess you dumb bitches have never seen a political thread here before.
It's more than twisted for a conservative government to sell us out to a Communist organization in the name of free enterprise.
Oh and Harper wears a rug, a bad one.
squinch squinch squinch - the sound of Canada turning off your oil.
squeak squeak squeak - the sound of Canada turning off your water.
Still bored? China's calling the shots now,baby not the USA.
Canada, unlike the USA, is not broke. Why is Stephen Harper selling off Canadian assets to the Chinese?...unless he is going to "reclaim" (read seize back) Canada's natural resources in a few years, using something like the US Patriot act.
Harper would never do that. He's as right-wing, pro-business as they come. And Canada, being a highly-developed country which believes in the rule of law, would never just "seize" assets. Though they could conceivably be nationalized with the owners compensated.
Trudeau in the 70s formed a national oil company "PetroCanada." But it was long-since sold off and privatized.
When the rule of law is perverted by the 1 Percent and the Corporations, "Seize Assets" becomes fashionable again.
China makes plans to mine the Arctic
Dec 30, 2012 / 7:18 pm
Another massive Chinese-owned resource project is before Prime Minister Stephen Harper's cabinet.
It would be hard to exaggerate the proposal's scope. Centred at Izok Lake, about 260 kilometres southeast of Kugluktuk, the project would stretch throughout a vast swath of western Nunavut.
Izok Lake would have five separate underground and open-pit mines producing lead, zinc and copper. Another site at High Lake, 300 kilometres to the northeast, would have another three mines.
MMG also wants a processing plant that could handle 6,000 tonnes of ore a day, tank farms for 35 million litres of diesel, two permanent camps totalling 1,000 beds, airstrips and a 350-kilometre all-weather road with 70 bridges that would stretch from Izok Lake to Grays Bay on the central Arctic coast.
MMG plans a port there that could accommodate ships of up to 50,000 tonnes that would make 16 round trips a year -- both east and west -- through the Northwest Passage.
Izok Lake would be drained, the water dammed and diverted to a nearby lake. Three smaller lakes at High Lake would also be drained. Grays Bay would be substantially filled in.
But more than 400 individuals, organizations, aboriginal groups and governments registered concerns about the project with the Nunavut Impact Review Board.
"Both the Izok Lake mine site and the High Lake mine site, as well as the route of the Izok corridor all-weather road, occur either near to or on the Bathurst calving ground," wrote the government of the Northwest Territories.
"The proposed project may cause significant adverse effects on the ecosystem and wildlife habitat," wrote Environment Canada.