China-Nexen deal pivotal for Harper agenda

2012-11-5

As a former deputy minister at Industry Canada, there was no one in government who knew the Investment Canada Act more intimately than Paul Boothe.

The top-tier bureaucrat, who has since migrated to academia, was instrumental in guiding a relatively young Conservative government when it surprisingly blocked the sale of domestic space technology, including the Radarsat-2 satellite, to an American firm in 2008.

After recently poring over the pros and cons of the $15.1-billion energy deal between Chinese-controlled CNOOC and Calgary's Nexen, Boothe can't see any good reason for turning down the deal. He's also well aware the answer may not be yes.

Despite attempts over the years to make approvals of foreign investment as clinical as possible, the CNOOC-Nexen decision comes down to pure politics.

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