Levant: Who benefits from applying the ‘new benefit test’ to the CNOCC-Nexen deal?
Most of Nexen’s operations are in other countries — in Colombia, the North Sea and offshore Africa. Only 45,000 barrels of oil a day are produced in Canada — or about 1.5 per cent of our national production. And, since all of our pipelines go south, that oil must either be bought by Canadians or Americans.
No matter who owns the share certificates of a Canadian oil company, that company must operate under Canadian laws and regulations. Labour laws, environmental laws, tax laws — it is all Canadian ethical standards that must be applied, whether the shareholder is your neighbour or a foreign dictatorship.
I’d rather a Canadian or American shareholder own Nexen. But China can do no harm with it. On the other hand, blocking the sale not only harms our global reputation as free traders, it also destroys the property rights of Canadians to sell their shares to whomever they choose.