Steve Harper says he's stopped foreign takeovers of Canada's resource industries but experts from the business sector say that foreign money and ownership will continue.
CBC News reports that foreign money will continue to flood in, only "Harper style." Steve Harper is the master of incremental change, little baby steps that, over time, add up to big change.
In announcing the long-awaited approvals of a Chinese takeover of Nexen Inc. and a Malaysian takeover of Progress Energy Resources Corp., Harper said there are limits to how much foreign state-owned influence is acceptable, particularly in the oilsands.
That caveat didn't appear to spook observers in Canada's business community, who expect foreign dollars to continue to pour into the oilpatch — even if it's not through blockbuster takeovers, but rather bite-sized deals that have been the norm for several years now.
There's no indication that joint-venture deals, minority investments and small-scale acquisitions will be stifled in any way, said Greg Stringham, vice-president of oilsands and markets at the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers.
There has been relatively little political outcry to deals such as PetroChina's joint venture with Athabasca Oil Corp. three years ago, and the subsequent move for full control of an oilsands project earlier this year. Nor has Sinopec's nine per cent interest in the Syncrude oilsands mine generated much furor. Both companies are controlled by the Chinese state, as is Nexen's buyer, CNOOC.