Harper Backs Government’s Stance on Petronas Takeover

The Prime Minister of Canada, Stephen Harper, defended the decision of his government regarding the examination of the proposed multibillion-dollar takeover deal of Canadian natural gas producer, Progress Energy Resources, by a Malaysian state-owned energy giant, Petronas.

The announcement was made on late Friday night by the Federal Industry Minister, Christian Paradis, who issued a statement declaring that the government does not permit the $6-billion offer of the Malaysian state-owned oil firm, Petronas, for Calgary-based, Progress. Discussing the event, Harper mentioned that Paradis “is not at a current time in a position to say that that particular transaction is of net benefit to Canada.”

This Monday Harper was with the Jamaican Prime Minister, Simpson Miller, during his official visit to Canada, when we highlighted that “our view is that foreign investment, generally speaking, is a benefit to the Canadian economy. And, as a general rule, we obviously welcome interest in the Canadian economy.” Harper continued his assertion by saying “at the same time, we are committed to the Investment Canada Act, which requires us to evaluate whether individual transactions are in the net benefit of Canada.”

The New Federal Democrats are not supporting this decision and have labeled the Canada’s foreign investment review strategy “profoundly broken” and “a mess.” The NDP’s Energy and Natural Resources Critic, Peter Julian, addressed a news conference in Ottawa on Monday denouncing the decision about Petronas, saying that the unacceptable decision was made “behind closed doors, just before the stroke of midnight, in the darkness of Ottawa, we have a minister flipping a coin and making a decision that has far-reaching ramifications. This is no way to manage one of the world’s largest economies.”

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