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(TODD KOROL/Reuters)


Handcuffing CNOOC on deal for Nexen could backfire badly

The Canadian government’s efforts to squeeze employment and investment commitments out of CNOOC in the Chinese oil giant’s proposed Nexen Inc. takeover almost certainly plays well with the voters in Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Alberta support base. But binding the hands of one of the province’s biggest investors could unintentionally hurt the very business and employees the government is aiming to protect – and may ultimately be unenforceable anyway.