Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Cancel Anytime
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Canada’s most-awarded
newsroom for a reason
Stay informed for a
lot less, cancel anytime
“Exemplary reporting on
COVID-19” – Herman L
$1.99
per week
for 24 weeks
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

The Nexen building is seen in downtown Calgary. Liberal leadership candidate Justin Trudeau sees the company’s merger with China’s CNOOC as providing a great deal of benefit to Canadians, with little downside risk.

TODD KOROL/Reuters

I have criticized Justin Trudeau's policy proposals in the past, specifically for being light on economic policy and for his incoherence on environment issues. He's trying, however, to make a believer out of me with an editorial on trade policy and Asia. While modest on specifics, Mr. Trudeau correctly identifies Canada's foreign direct investment policies as a significant economic issue that the Conservatives have not addressed.

Of all the points in the editorial, Mr. Trudeau's support of the CNOOC-Nexen deal is probably most surprising. Like many others, he sees the merger as providing a great deal of benefit to Canadians, with little downside risk. The Conservatives have not offered a coherent reason why blocking such a deal is in Canada's interests, and I am delighted to see Mr. Trudeau call them on it.

Mr. Trudeau goes on to add that "the big picture isn't about CNOOC or Petronas, but the many opportunities like them that will follow in their footsteps." The underlying issue is clearly the Investment Canada Act (ICA) and the "net benefit test". Unfortunately, Mr. Trudeau has not said why the CNOOC-Nexen deal and others would pass under his system but fail under the current approach. Would he replace the ICA with a new law, or would he interpret the net benefit test differently than the Harper government? Such a distinction is important, as the net benefit test has problems beyond what Mr. Trudeau says is the current government's "Keystone Kops approach".

Story continues below advertisement

The most impressive part of Mr. Trudeau's position is how he has successfully linked trade policy with his campaign's focus on the middle class. In order to increase middle-class wages, Canadian productivity must increase. His statement that "[f]oreign investment raises productivity, and hence the living standards of Canadian families" may not be a great bumper sticker slogan, but it is a vital point.

There has been criticism that Mr. Trudeau cannot both support the CNOOC-Nexen deal and oppose the Northern Gateway pipeline. I disagree. There are alternative options to get the oil to market, some highly realistic (Keystone XL), others less so (a railway to Alaska). CNOOC's position on Northern Gateway should be irrelevant since the company's merger plans are not conditional on having the pipeline built.

I have previously graded Mr. Trudeau's foreign investment policies as an A-. Given these further details, he has earned a full A, if not an A+.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Tickers mentioned in this story
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies