The Natural Resources Minister of Canada, Joe Oliver, gave a statement on Wednesday implying that since Canada is a democracy country, the public view of any decision is definitely considered in Conservative government’s decisions on foreign takeovers. The response and opinion of general public is not really a criterion mentioned in the Canada Investment Act but the Harper government is allegedly trying to push the voter opinion as it calculates the “net benefit” of all the foreign takeover bids.
Oliver was speaking to the press after a Conservative caucus meeting in Ottawa, when he was inquired openly if ‘public opinion’ was a considerate factor for determining ‘net benefit’ of Canada in the takeover deals. He replied that “this is a democracy and the government takes into account the opinions of Canadians” and “beyond that I have no comment.”
The Prime Minister of Canada, Stephen Harper, has already stated that specific and unambiguous new rules are needed to be drafted after the government’s weekend decision to decline the green light to a proposed takeover of Alberta’s Progress Energy by a Malaysian state-owned oil and gas company. This deal included a $15.1-billion bid by China’s National Offshore Oil Corp., for Nexen Inc.
NDP Leader, Tom Mulcair, snapped at Oliver’s comments and stated that if the case is so, than the government shall hold public consultations while it is drafting new criteria for foreign takeovers of Canadian companies. Muclair commented that “If he says that he cares about public opinion then he should sit down and listen to the public.”
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