AFL Statement on the proposed takeover of Nexen by the China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC)

EDMONTON-Does it matter who owns the oil sands? You bet it does! If foreign governments are allowed to expand in Alberta through companies like China National, they'll develop the oil sands in their own best interest, not in the best interest of Canadians. That means they'll keep the best jobs for themselves; they'll do the minimum to protect the environment and they'll ignore Canada's long-term energy needs in favour of their own nation's needs.

The oil sands are one of Canada's most important strategic resources. We simply can't let them through our fingers. And they shouldn't simply be auctioned off to the highest bidder. When it comes to developing resources like the oil sands, we have to start thinking about the long-term best interests of Canadians in areas like jobs and the environment. If we relinquish decision making power to companies that are controlled by foreign governments, we won't have any say on those issues. The Harper government needs to wake up and stop letting ideology get in the way of what's best for Canadians.

The bottom line for us is that no deals like this should be approved until Canada has developed a national energy strategy that ensures that the interests of Canadians are looked after before the interests of big corporations or foreign governments. But not just any national energy strategy. A strategy has to be about more than pipelines and quicker approvals for projects. We need a national energy strategy that says upgrading and refining jobs should be kept here in Canada instead of being shipped down the pipeline; that says that our resources should be developed in the most environmental sustainable way possible; and which guarantees that energy needs of Canadians will be looked after before the energy needs of foreign countries.

The federal government has the power to turn down this deal and they should do just that, just like they did with the proposed foreign takeover of Saskatchewan's potash industry, if this takeover doesn't fit with a broader strategy of ensuring we get the maximum value out of our non-renewable resources.


For more information:

Gil McGowan, President, Alberta Federation of Labour (780) 218-9888

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