Tzeporah Berman

Harper Government Approves Foreign Acquisition of Nexen, Progress Energy, Affirms FIPA Concerns

Today Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced the approval of two major acquisitions of Canadian energy companies by foreign state-owned enterprises. The Chinese National Offshore Oil Company (CNOOC) will commence the $15.1 billion takeover of Nexen Inc., a Canadian company with major holdings in the Alberta tar sands. Malaysia's Petronas will proceed with the purchase of Progress Energy Resources Corp., a Calgary company with considerable shale gas plays in British Columbia, for $5.2 billion. Petronas has plans to construct an $11 billion liquified natural gas plant in Prince Rupert to prepare gas exports for Asia. 

Prime Minister Harper announced the takeovers, which are steeped in controversy, in tandem with new takeover guidelines intended to address growing concerns of foreign ownership of Canada's resources by energy-hungry nations. He remained silent on the significance of the approval for FIPA, the Foreign Investment Protection and Promotion Agreement, also known as the China-Canada Investment Treaty.
“Canadians generally and investors specifically should understand that these decisions are not the beginning of a trend but rather the end of a trend,” said Mr. Harper. The full meaning of that statement, however, remains to be seen. The Harper government's decision to ratify FIPA may mean deals done with China, like today's deal with CNOOC, will carry a new significance.
The government previously raised the threshold for official review of foreign takeovers from $330 million to $1 billion, signaling open arms to potential foreign investors with an eye on mega projects like the Alberta tar sands. However, today that threshold was returned to $330 million for state-owned enterprises.
“To be blunt, Canadians have not spent years reducing ownership of sectors of the economy by our own governments only to see them bought and controlled by foreign governments instead,” Mr. Harper said

Cannibalizing Environmentalism: Tzeporah Berman under attack

Updated March 9, 2010 to take note of Oil Sands Truth

There’s nothing mainstream media loves more than the spectacle of environmentalists ripping one another limb from limb. Witness, for example, the CBC Vancouver Early Edition interview this morning (starting at 1:23:21) in which a little-known activist (Macdonald Stainsby) was invited to slag Tzeporah Berman, co-founder of Forest Ethics, founder of PowerUp Canada and, soon, the chief climate campaigner for Greenpeace International.

Stainsby was all fired up, questioning Berman’s environmental bona fides and calling her “a Trojan horse” whose true purpose was to “hand all power over to corporations.” As proof, Stainsby said that “Ms. Berman actually gave an award to (BC Premier) Gordon Campbell at the Copenhagen talks. While hundreds of thousands of people were in the streets being tear-gassed and arrested, she was on the other side of the picket line giving an award over on the basis of the carbon tax.”

How could you not be outraged? Well, easy enough if you look past Stainsby’s rhetoric.

Tzeporah Berman leading the climate policy charge

Tzeporah Berman of the climate change advocacy group PowerUp Canada struck a devastating blow against the New Democratic Party’s ill-advised opposition to the BC carbon tax yesterday with a letter pointing out NDP leader Carole James’ hypocrisy on the issue.

Berman, whose criticism of the NDP’s position was featured in a line story in the Vancouver Sun Friday, began the letter by saying to James, “I feel deeply betrayed by the BC NDP Platform released last week and your flip-flops on green economy and climate policy. You are playing partisan politics with our children’s future.”

Subscribe to Tzeporah Berman