Alison Redford in China: A trade mission with conditions -

Alison Redford in China: A trade mission with conditions

Alberta’s premier wants state-owned companies to hear her message loud and clear


If Alison Redford sounded peeved as she prepared for her third trip to China in as many years, it’s understandable.

Redford’s fortnight in the Far East, which kicked off Sept. 5 and will include visits to Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong, marks the Alberta premier’s latest attempt to convince the Chinese that Alberta’s oil patch is open for investment—even though the latest rules from Ottawa would seem to suggest Chinese state-owned companies should stay home.

The federal rules on state-owned investment, announced late last year in the wake of a $15-billion takeover of Calgary-based Nexen by China’s CNOOC Ltd., dictated the government would only approve takeovers in “exceptional” circumstances. At the time, Prime Minister Stephen Harper was concerned about foreign companies controlling what’s supposed to be a free market in Alberta’s oil sands. Alberta and the oil patch asked for more specific details on how the new rules would be applied, but they never came.

As it stands, the rules, which are actually guidelines, take into account the influence new foreign owners will exert on their Canadian acquisitions. But they leave plenty of wiggle room for industry ministers who must ultimately decide whether big takeover deals are allowed. Last year, then-industry minister Christian Paradis approved a pair of billion-dollar takeovers in the oil sands, but emphasized that, despite the net benefit they provided Canada, they were exceptions to the new rules.

Redford doesn’t appreciate that lack of clarity, and wants state-owned companies to hear her message loud and clear. “If the federal government doesn’t choose to be clearer at the moment, we will presume that we can continue to advance that agenda [to attract state-owned enterprises] and we will make that case to the federal government,” she told the Calgary Herald.

If the premier’s bullish tone works in China, those murky federal rules could well be put to the test before too long.

Buyer, and seller, beware.

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Alison Redford in China: A trade mission with conditions

  1. Once again, Harper is standing in the way of improvements to our economy.

    What did he claim to be again before he went into politics?

    • Sure, because allowing state-owned companies to buy private Canadian companies is just such an improvement.

      • Over what? American owned companies? Crown corporations?

        Either you’re open for business or you’re not.

        • State-owned firms have no place in industry. Martin privatized PetroCan in 1999 for good reason. Either you oppose government takeover of industry or you don’t. If anything, Harper has dropped the ball on this by not taking a hard-line, absolutist stance. Witness him now trying to unload GM shares at half the price we paid for them in 2009.

          As for you, it’s odd how someone so vehemently opposed to oil sands development rubs her hands with glee when it’s the Chinese who want to develop them. You’ve got this unhealthy Sino-fetish that clouds your already clouded thinking.

          • Either you’re open for business or you aren’t.

            It’s amazing how fussy you Canadian capitalists are. You don’t get to ‘choose’ your customers you know. You sell to demand.

            PS…Again your imagination has gotten carried away. I have never opposed tar sands development.

          • So you’re an oilsands proponent now are you? Well you’re just full of surprises.

            When someone buys your product, he’s your customer. When he buys you, he’s your owner. Learn the difference. Nothing wrong with ownership. The market economy depends on the private ownership of resources. Note I said private. We don’t allow our own Crown corps to take over industry anymore, and for that very reason – they won’t behave as private, profit-seeking entities – they will behave as political entities. So we should be equally unwilling to let the governments of other countries do take ownership of our industry.

          • No wonder Cons do so badly at economics….they have no idea what it’s about.

            When you’re ‘in business for yourself’….every customer is your boss. And if you try to pick and choose….you won’t be in business very long.

            Now then go read about crown corporations.


          • If you can’t tell the difference between an owner and a customer, then your economic knowledge is… underwhelming. If you think customers are always the boss, please feel free to walk into any business at any time and order the employees around. Or better yet, insist on a better price. Send us the video afterwards. We could always use a good laugh here.

          • I repeat….you are either open for business or you’re bankrupt.

          • You repeat… a lot. That doesn’t make any of your nonsensical ramblings true. If the sum total of your argument, as a “global economic development analyst”, can be rolled up with such a facile cliche as that, then you really should stop considering yourself and expert on the subject.

          • “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough”

            Albert Einstein.

          • Alternatively, if all you have is a bumper sticker, maybe you don’t understand it.

          • Well it’s Einstein….I didn’t expect you to get it.

          • Snappy rejoinder. Nothing says ‘ I’m smarter than everyone else’ like a quote from Einstein.

          • His quotes are all over the web….whoever-you-are.

          • Yes, they even have coffee mugs. Nobody has hacked my account, but nice try.

          • Hacked your brain then….cuz janbc isn’t JanBC.

          • And EmilyOne isn’t OriginalEmily1 either, but we don’t mind. You’re annoying regardless.

          • Yup…same person. Macleans could have told you that. Sorry.

          • Of course, it can`t be anything you`re doing, As I said, take a break from the internet. It will still be there when you get back.

          • Since I’m doing nothing new and different…no it can’t be.

            You are, however, new and different. And soooo not jan.

          • She is losing her mind right in front of us. There is no other conclusion one can make.

          • That quote was from a guy who actually did understand what he was talking about. It doesn’t work so well for you. Try this one:

            “If you can’t explain it at all, you have no clue what you’re talking about.”

            –Raging Ranter

          • Really….well Einstein was a Socialist.