Opposition Motion — Nexen

That, in the opinion of the House, the government: (a) should not make a decision on the proposed takeover of Nexen by CNOOC without conducting thorough public consultations; (b) should immediately undertake transparent and accessible public hearings into the issue of foreign ownership in the Canadian energy sector with particular reference to the impact of state-owned enterprises; and (c) must respect its 2010 promise to clarify in legislation the concept of “net benefit” within the Investment Canada Act.

Elizabeth May: Mr. Speaker, I am very grateful that the official opposition has raised today’s opposition debate on the CNOOC-Nexen deal, but I do not think we can examine what that really means without the larger context that the Privy Council will be deciding on a treaty—without a debate or vote in the House, 21 sitting days from September 26 when the treaty was tabled for Canada-China investment—that will bind Canada for a minimum of 15 years and protect Nexen’s new entity as a branch of CNOOC, if this goes ahead, with rights and privileges far in excess of what Nexen now has as a Canadian company. Nexen will be a new CNOOC if this agreement goes through.

Since there is no debate or vote, unless there is strong opposition from Conservative members of Parliament to tell their government that they cannot accept this, we are going to see Chinese state-owned enterprises having the right to complain against laws they do not like that have been passed in this place, the right to complain against health, worker and safety protection and the right to sue, as it is now doing. China is currently suing Belgium for $3 billion. I would like the hon. member’s comments on this particular agreement.

Mylène Freeman: Yes, Mr. Speaker, I agree that is a problem. As I mentioned in my speech, this is obviously largely worrying when it comes to our environmental standards. We can be sure it will not be good for our economy or our environment.

The secrecy and non-consultation is something we often see with the government. It is not just that this agreement with China she is speaking of is going to be pushed through based on the whim of the government. It seems that most things are agreed to that way and sort of shoved down the throats of Canadians. That is why New Democrats are advocating for public consultations.