Balancing foreign interests

One very controversial issue being debated is foreign investment in Canada’s natural resources sector.

One very controversial issue being debated is foreign investment in Canada’s natural resources sector. Foreign investment is good.  It brings much-needed capital for developing a vibrant economy, creating jobs, growth and prosperity for all Canadians.

The Investment Canada Act sets out the criteria used to measure the greatest net benefit to Canadians when foreign investment enters the Canadian market. This act has been in place for many years and our Conservative government is the only government that has used this to stop foreign investment that had the potential to compromise our economic sovereignty or national security.

In 2008 the MacDonald-Dettwiler sale to a USA company was denied as it had the potential to compromise our national and intellectual property security, not to mention Canadians losing the benefit of the many tax dollars invested in MacDonald-Dettwiler’s research in developing RadarSat.

Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan Inc. is the largest producer of potash in the world. Canadians and especially those living in Saskatchewan did not want to see the sale of this company to foreign interests.  They felt this resource was crucial to food security and feared the company’s headquarters might be moved out of Canada.  Based on this, in 2010 your government decided not to support the foreign purchase of this resource company.

Recently, your government turned down the purchase of Progress Energy Resources Corp, a Canadian oil and gas company, to the Malaysian state-owned oil company Petronas.  Your government is also reviewing the Nexen (operating in the Canadian oil and gas sector) sale to the Chinese state-owned oil and gas company CNOOC.  The issue here — is it in Canada’s best interest for a foreign state-owned company to have a majority interest in a Canadian natural resource?  What are the safeguards to ensure corporate profits will be retained in Canada or even that taxes paid on profits will stay in Canada to help pay for services delivered by the three levels of government?

Journalist, Terence Corcoran of the National Post suggests: “State-owned enterprises pose a threat to free market nations.”

I agree.

We do not want foreign states who do not share our values of law and order, human rights and fair labour principles to dictate market practices or deplete our resources with no net benefit to Canadians.

Our government has amended the Investment Canada Act to ensure state-owned enterprises adhere to Canadian standards of corporate governance and operate according to commercial principles.

You can be certain that we will continue to ensure that foreign investment in our Canadian economy will balance Canadian interests and fair market principles.

– Colin Mayes is the member of Parliament for the Okanagan Shuswap


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