"When we say that Canada is open for business, we do not mean that Canada is for sale to foreign governments," Prime Minister Stephen Harper intoned at a news conference in Ottawa Friday -- except, he didn't add, those parts of Canada our government's rich pals feel like selling off.
So, once again, Dec. 7 gets to be a date that will live in infamy, in this case the soon-to-be infamous sale of Calgary-based Nexen Inc. for a tidy $15 billion to the government of a Communist dictatorship -- or whatever it is you call a Crown corporation run by the government of a Communist dictatorship, which by definition one would think is an uncrowned sort of place.
And here we thought government ownership was supposed to be a bad thing to “Objectivists” like Harper. Only if it’s our government, I guess. I’m sure I heard somewhere that Harper promised people would benefit -- but he must’ve actually said People’s Republic.
Whatever. Harper told us that thanks to the sale of Nexen to the China National Offshore Oil Corp., which was undoubtedly so desired by his cronies in the Calgary oilpatch it would have been hard to expect him to do anything but go along with the deal with a smile on his face, the Chinese government is now going to be Canada's friend with benefits, or, in this case, "tangible benefits."
I hope you know, people, what that phrase generally means … It means, just in case you missed that part of your pop-cultural education, that we Canadians can soon expect to be on the receiving end of more than little CNOOCkie.
One aspect of that CNOOCkie, one supposes, will be the enactment any minute now of the Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement with China that Harper personally signed back in September -- assuming, that is, that it hasn’t already been enacted and the government and media just haven’t bothered to tell us about it.
That one will surrender a larger hunk of our national sovereignty than the mere sale of a $15-billion Canadian oilpatch company to a foreign regime. However, like the Nexen sale, the FIPPA is desired by the rich oilpatch folks who get to pocket a goodly share of the proceeds even though it's sensibly not wanted by ordinary Canadians, so it's not hard to see which way Harper's so-called Conservative government is going blow on that one.
I don't know why Harper hesitating to put the stamp of approval on the FIPPA, quite frankly, because afterward he can use the same old dodge he's using for giving the nod to the Nexen deal -- don't worry, I'll never do it again.
And speaking of friends-with-benefits-type situations, where, I ask you, have we heard that one before?
Our national sovereignty, of course, like Nexen, will be gone -- and not just for the three decades the FIPPA is supposed to last, because in 30 years what's left of Canada will be told how we have to sign on for another 60 or risk being shut out of the global market.
By the way, if you want to know why it's in Canadians' interests to sign deals like this with the Communist Chinese, look no further than the same people who were palpitating with horror back in July because a Conservative politician stood up when a scratchy gramophone played, wait for it, the Communist Chinese anthem!
I speak, of course, of the reliable friends of the government at Edmonton's Ethical Oil-drop-org -- who are one and the same, and I do mean pretty much one, with Sun News Network bloviator Ezra Levant, the fellow whose knickers were all in a knot back in July about Treasury Board President Tony Clement's stand-up taste in music.
But by early September, Levant's Ethical Oil thingy solemnly informed us that in the event of the takeover of a big chunk of our oilpatch by a Communist dictatorship, the same one he’d been in a froth about a couple of months before, all would nevertheless be well because our oil would still be ethical.
This would presumably be the case because we Canadians are ethical people, no matter what we do with our oil.
So rest easy, people!
Meanwhile, I am sure readers will be relieved to know that after weeks of disturbing silence, Ethical Oil seems to have resurfaced on the very day Prime Minister Harper rubber-stamped the Nexen deal.
It's true. Just yesterday, Ethical Oil's pseudanonymous Twitter account holder subscribed by my Twitter feed. So I think it's safe to say we can stand by for the definitive explanation any moment now of why selling off Nexen was a Good Thing for Canada after all.
This post also appears on David Climenhaga's blog, Alberta Diary.
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