Canadian politician Trudeau favors greater Sino-Canadian economic ties

2012-11-24 02:36:49 GMT2012-11-24 10:36:49(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

VANCOUVER, Nov. 23 (Xinhua) -- Canadian politician Justin Trudeau has thrown his support behind China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC)' s bid for the Calgary-based Nexen Inc.

Trudeau said Friday that the sale, if approved, will create jobs and grow the country' s middle class.

CNOOC' s 15.1 billion Canadian dollar (15.21 U.S. dollars) offer to buy Canada' s sixth largest oil company is currently under review by the ruling Conservative party which will make a decision whether it is in the national interest and either approve or reject the deal by Dec. 10.

"Yess, I support the CNOCC-Nexen deal because that' s a deal that will bring foreign investment into the (Alberta) oil sands and allow us to draw on our resources in a better way," said Trudeau in Vancouver where he was generating support for his bid to become the new leader of the country' s federal Liberal Party.

"Canada is too small a country in population with too many resources to be able to generate the capital on our own needed for such massive infrastructure projects as the oil sands development are, so we need foreign investment to do it."

The 40-year-old Trudeau, federal member of parliament for the Montreal riding of Papineau and the eldest son of Canada' s 15th prime minister Pierre Trudeau, said with the country' s abundant natural resources it needs to be open to greater trade opportunities, albeit according to Canadian principles, labor laws, environmental protections and governance policies, among others.

On Monday, the state-owned CNOOC reportedly agreed to conditions set by the Canadian government in an effort to win the bid. Among the conditions agreed is that at least 50 percent of the Nexen Inc. board and management positions be held by Canadians. China' s number three oil company has also pledged to retain Nexen' s management team and employees.

Despite his pro-trade and foreign investment stance, Trudeau is opposing the Northern Gateway Pipeline proposal as it' s not in the "best interest of Canadians."

Calgary-based Enbridge Inc. is proposing to build a 6 billion dollar twin pipeline to carry oil from Alberta through northern British Columbia to a marine terminus at Kitimat. It would then be shipped to markets in Asia and the United States.

The controversial project, which is heavily opposed by environmentalists and aboriginal groups, among others, is currently under an environmental assessment review by two federal agencies.

"The environmental concerns of the proposed route of that pipeline, which goes through some incredibly vulnerable and magnificent wildernesses areas that puts tankers in some very difficult water and some treacherous areas, is not the right solution," Trudeau said, noting he was looking forward to hearing other logistics solutions for the proposal.

"It' s going to be very important that we try to figure out how to get our resources to the Asian markets, but not any which way, and not at any cost."

Trudeau, a former high school teacher who is now in his second term as a federal politician, said if he does secure the Liberal leadership in April and leads the party to victory in the 2015 election, as prime minister he would increase trade ties with China.

Last year, bilateral merchandise trade between the two countries reached a record 65 billion dollars, according to Canada government statistics.

"When you look at the resources that China' s going to need, whether it be energy or minerals or other commodities, or whether it be know-how and educated populous and solutions and ideas, Canada has an awful lot to offer for such a small country compared to China. So we have real opportunities to engage productively in ways that will benefit Canadian workers, Canadian citizens."

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