Canada Needs Foreign Ownership Curbs
Barry Artiste, Now Public Contributor
Certainly Canadians and Americans have witnessed foreign ownership in our prospective countries.
Statistics posted the left of this story from US Government agencies can serve as an example if we follow the USA lead. Certainly their present economic misfortunes attest to this.
More so in the United States, where everything from Banks to US port and security are Saudi owned.
Certainly as anyone knows trying to takeover a company or establish a company in foreign countries like Russia, Africa, China and the Middle East with unstable ethics is an effort in futility as MacDonalds Restaurants learned when setting up shop in China, only to have their new restaurants closed down to make way for a chinese connected developer, or a Canadian whose oil firm was sent packing out of Russia, thus bankrupting his Alberta business. Certainly North Americans investment in foreign countries versus them investing in us in not on a level playing field.
Countries who take over North American companies and outsource to low wage third world countries for labour, still enjoy tax perks in our country much to the detriment of the North American labour force.
Canada needs to learn from lessons, learned too late in the United States, and not rely on other countries such as the United States who rely on foreign investment and borrowing trillions of dollars from China and the Saudi's to prop the US economy, thus controlling the US economy as it is shown paying down those foreign debts has turned the American economy into a tailspin in which it may take years to recover.
Recently China was looking at buying mines in British Columbia and bringing their own Chinese miners over to Canada, leaving nearby towns of unemployed miners to wonder what their Tax dollars are paying for in subsidizing a foreign country like china to buy a Mine of which Canadians will not benefit from, as the mined goods will be in raw form and not processed here in Canada and will be exported back to China.
Yep, we all have a lesson to learn from our US family south of the border, better to control your own country's financial house and neighbourhood resources before strangers walk in and buy it with some of your money, with them owning it outright from under you.
Foreign investment review
Let’s hope the Tories do their international and market homework before coming up with foreign ownership guidelines for Investment Canada.
Many of us oppose sovereign capital buyouts as well as the targetting of Canada that has taken place by the Russians and Arab regimes. In fact, Canada's best and brightest could be picked off in no time.
But restricting foreign ownership in Canada is tricky, given free trade agreements and the aggressive acquisitions made by Canadian multinationals around the world. In absolute dollars, Canadian businesses now have more foreign direct investment outside the country than foreigners have in total invested in Canada.
But this can change if we become a pushover nation. There is $2 trillion in sovereign capital out there and it's growing rapidly due to oil and commodity prices.
So Ottawa must adopt an elegant solution which would adhere to what I call the principle of investment reciprocity. This is a way to keep undesirables out of ownership in our economy – such as Russians or Middle Eastern oil despots – and yet retain the principles of free trade, liberalization and access here to worthy foreigners so that Canadians can continue to invest abroad.
The global economy upholds the principle of trade reciprocity exists but no one has enshrined investment reciprocity. Take the case of Prime Energy Trust, one of three Canadian oil companies picked off in weeks by the potentates of Abu Dhabi.
Those deals were unjust because Canadians cannot invest in Abu Dhabi’s oil sector, in its stock market or in the entity that bought the Canadian assets. That meant, Canadian targets could not do a reverse takeover to fend off the purchase and their Canadian owners could not follow the assets by taking shares in the takeover artist’s company.
The entity was also able to outbid Canadian rivals because it is subsidized.