The Garage Sale of Canada

I’m minding my own business, inquisitively searching the web for information pertaining to community instead of the sheer madness and reeking greed happening at the top. Have been thinking about my daily life and not the “big picture”, more about the community in which I reside and those who make up my circle of friends and loved ones. Writing the last few articles made me turn my head a bit and I saw what appeared to be a trail running alongside the road my writing takes me.

After ducking under a couple of low slung limbs of Fir and squeezing past some bushes, I took its path and for a week, met and encountered people and places, wrote and loved a lot of moments, each one fully engaged. It is a path I’ll stay on for awhile for it’s got a good vibe to it. It’s all about community; because this is where changes can be made of things that affect us the most. The following path will be less taken for awhile.

But suddenly, because no matter how hard you need to get out, something sucks you back in. I ran across an article about another foreign corporation buying off another piece of Canada and thought wow, is there going to be anything left? And how much have we already sold off? As it is, thirty-six sectors of the Canadian economy is majority foreign owned, including the chemical industry, rubber industry, computer industry and the petroleum industry. Zero sectors in US are majority foreign owned. The following is but a smattering of what I found.

July 2012. A Chinese government controlled corporation, The China National Offshore Oil Company (CNOOC Ltd.), purchases the Calgary-based oil and gas firm Nexen Inc. (Canada’s 12th largest energy company) for $15.1 billion US cash. If the deal goes through it will be the largest foreign transaction that the Chinese government has ever made. The Canadian government and Nexen’s shareholders will have to approve the deal, by deciding whether the deal will be a “net benefit” to Canada. Interestingly enough, Nexen’s CEO, Marvin Romanow and executive vice-president Gary Nieuwenburg, stepped down from their positions in January.

Last year, CNOOC Ltd. bought the oil sands development company, OPTI Canada, which was under credit protection, for $2.1 billion. OPTI owned the other third of the Long Lake oil sands project that Nexen didn’t.

Since 2005, CNOOC has invested over $2.8 billion in various Canadian projects, including stakes in MEG Energy Inc. and a 60 per cent interest in Northern Cross (Yukon) Ltd. and have a firm foothold in the oil sands, also owning interests in Syncrude, Athabasca Oil Sands and Penn West Energy corporations.

July 2012. Calgary-based Talisman Energy sells a 49 per cent interest in its UK division to the Chinese state-controlled Sinopec Corp. for $1.5 billion. Sinopec is the same corporation which paid $2 billion last year, to buy the Alberta oil and gas firm Daylight Energy and back in Sept 2008, as the bubble burst in most democratic countries, they purchased Vancouver/Calgary based Tanganyika Oil for another $2 billion. They are also one of the biggest investors in the Enbridge pipeline.

July 2012. Swiss-based Glencore International PLC pays $6.1 billion to take over Viterra Inc., a Regina-based agribusiness. Deal to be completed after a review by regulators in China, Australia and New Zealand, where Viterra has operations.

June 2012. Malaysia’s state-owned oil and gas company, Petronas, offers $5.5 billion to buy out Progress Energy Resource Corp., their Canadian partner in northeastern BC gas fields.

The natural gas facilities in Kitimat, to be completed by 2017, are owned by Dutch Shell, Korea Gas Corp. and PetroChina Co. Ltd.

February 2011. PetroChina, the state-owned international oil and gas, corporation, buys 50% partnership with Encana Corporation, in deep shale gas development in northeastern BC and northwest Alberta.

In the last two years over 77 Canadian technology firms have been sold to foreign companies, mostly American. Because, as entrepreneur John Philip Green says, although there are “a lot of great stories to be told, a lot of people working really hard, really smart people doing world beater stuff, the biggest obstacle to being the next RIM (Research In Motion) is just that people sell out so quickly.”

San Francisco-based Salesforce.com, a leader in business software, purchased the Canadian companies Goinstant, the Toronto software company, Rypple and Fredericton-based Radian6, which specializes in digital marketing. Larger U.S. companies acquired Vancouver’s Singular Software, Ottawa’s Headwall Software and Halifax’s GoInstant. Toronto’s Scriptlance was bought out by the largest company in its field, the outsourcing and crowd-sourcing marketplace, Freelancer.com, which is based in Australia.

Brazilian mining giant Vale acquires Toronto-based Inco, the world’s second-largest nickel producer company, for $19.4 billion in 2007.

U.K.’s Rio Tinto takes over mining and aluminum company Alcan in a $38-billion US deal in 2007

Swiss company Xstrata acquires Toronto-based copper and nickel mining company Falconbridge in a 2006 deal that values the company at approximately $24.1 billion.

US Steel Corp. takes over Canadian steel-maker Stelco in 2007. The federal government sued US Steel after it said the company failed to live up to promise it made to maintain investment in Canada. A settlement was reached in December 2011 under which US Steel will maintain Canadian operations until at least 2015 and make a further investment of $40.7 million.

Graphics chipmaker, ATI Technologies based in Markham, Ont., is acquired by the US company, Advanced Micro Devices, in October 2006 in a deal valued at $5.6 billion US.

The Caterpillar Inc. takeover of locomotive builder Electro-Motive in London, Ont., in 2010 is questioned when Caterpillar closes the plant permanently in February 2012, after failing to obtain demands workers accept pay cuts as deep as 50 per cent.

Besides being the biggest purchaser at Canada’s garage sale, China is also our second biggest trading partner, behind the US. In 2011 Canada exported $16.3 billion worth of merchandise to China and imported more than $48 billion. We export commodities and natural resources, such as raw logs, and paper products, with 25% of what we export being the minerals nickel, copper and potash. And of course we will soon be exporting fantastic amounts of oil and natural gas.

We import from China more than three times what we export because of our thirst for appliances, electrical equipment, toys, clothing, rubber and plastics. Selling our natural resources for manufactured goods in return makes the trade relationship between China and Canada highly unusual says Gordon Betcherman, a professor at the School of International Development and Global Studies at the University of Ottawa. “It’s a weird trade pattern. It’s exactly the pattern you would expect to see between a rich, developed country and a much poorer developing country – except it’s exactly flipped.”

 

 

 

http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/story/2012/06/19/f-canada-china-trade.html

 

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