At a press conference held late Friday afternoon, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced that his government had approved the $15 billion takeover of Nexen by the Chinese Offshore Oil Company (CNOOC).
Reaction to Friday's announcement was swift.
NDP Energy and Natural Resources critic Peter Julian, who recently held a social media Town Hall on the subject, call the decision "irresponsible" and "a farce."
Two of the civil society organizations that have led a high profile campaign against the Nexen takeover, and against the Canada-China Foreign Investment Protection Agreement (FIPA), issued this statement.
SumOfUs.org and Leadnow.ca Slam Prime Minister Harper’s Approval Of CNOOC-Nexen Takeover
Today, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced the approval of the controversial takeover of Nexen by the Chinese National Offshore Oil Company. Harper called the Nexen decision and the prospect of further takeovers of oil sands firms “not the beginning of a trend, but rather the end of a trend.”
This government’s decision to announce the takeover at 5pm on a Friday, and to say that they will limit future takeovers in our resource sector, shows that this government is feeling intense pressure from Canadians across the political spectrum to ensure Canadian control of our resources. However, the in-limbo FIPA deal raises serious questions about Harper’s statement, as it is designed to encourage China’s companies to invest in the Canadian resource sector.
"This decision makes the prospect of the Canada-China FIPA even more troubling," said Taren Stinebrickner-Kauffman, executive director of SumOfUs.org. "Now that CNOOC will have control of a major Canadian fossil fuel giant, Canada can't risk signing a treaty with China that will give CNOOC vast powers to stop Canadian government regulation.”
In one day, SumOfUs.org collected more than 30,000 signatures from Canadians opposing the deal. SumOfUs plans to deliver these signatures to Prime Minister Harper. Over the past month, Leadnow.ca and SumOfUs.org's campaigns against FIPA and Nexen have gathered over 100,000 signatures from Canadians opposed to these deals.
“Harper is trying to bury this decision by announcing it at 5pm on a Friday," according to Emma Pullman, Canadian Campaigner at SumOfUs. "But he’s not going to get off that easily -- Canadians are going to hold this government accountable for selling out our environment and our economy.”
If this FIPA is ratified, CNOOC will be able to sue Canadian governments in secret tribunals if our democratic decisions do anything to limit the foreign company’s profits -- even if those decisions protect our environment and economy.
“Canadians are watching our government closely now, and after the CNOOC takeover, our government absolutely cannot pass the FIPA investor deal without exposing ourselves to unlimited risk,” said Jamie Biggar, Executive Director at Leadnow.ca.
SumOfUs.org is a global movement of consumers, investors, and workers all around the world, standing together to hold corporations accountable for their actions and forge a new, sustainable and just path for our global economy.
Leadnow.ca is an independent advocacy organization that brings generations of Canadians together to achieve progress through democracy.