Red Alert over investment in Canada
Calgary-based resource company Nexen has been taken over by a Chinese firm. Calgary, Alberta, on July 23, 2012. (QMI Agency/MIKE DREW)
There are new fears the federal review process for foreign takeovers of Canadian companies falls apart on issues of national security.
"There's no definition of what national security is," said Terry Glavin, a journalist and author who is a strong critic of China.
Glavin is speaking out as Industry Minister Christian Paradis reviews Chinese National Overseas Oil Corp.'s (CNOOC) proposed $15.1 billion takeover of energy company Nexen to see if it is of "net benefit" to Canada.
While Paradis has said the deal has to comply with national security requirements, the Investment Canada Act doesn't specify what criteria must be met.
That worries Glavin when he thinks of CNOOC grabbing an even larger piece of Canada's energy industry.
"They are an acquisitions arm of the Communist Party of China," he said. "If our government thinks giving them the opportunity to throw a whole bunch of money around in the oilpatch and acquire a massive company like Nexen is in the national interest, I guess our government needs to say so."
Alarm over investments by Chinese companies isn't unique to Canada.
Shanghai Zhongfu Group is bidding for a 15,000-hectare farming project to expand agriculture in the Australian outback, worrying centre-right Australian opposition leader Tony Abbott.
"It would rarely be in Australia's interests to allow a foreign government or its agencies to control an Australian business," Abbott said in Beijing this week.
Australian Trade Minister Craig Emerson responded by warning that China would find other places to invest if the country started "putting the walls up."
-- with files from Reuters