Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Canada - For Sale?

The take over of Canadian companies recently has to make one wonder if Canada is flaunting a For Sale sign. The most recent sale was Alcan Inc. to American Alcoa Inc. for a price tag of 33 billion. One also has to wonder if it is time to take at least a casual look at whether or not the sale of Canadian companies to foreign investors will be in Canada’s interest in the long term.

Some argue it is time to step in and protect Canadian enterprises. At this time I disagree. The federal government was well informed prior to the latest sale of Alcan Inc. I am prepared to give Stephen Harper the benefit of the doubt at this time. I may be taking a risky position considering how the Harper conservatives managed the now infamous trust accounts where individual Canadians lost millions.

Regardless, the Canadian investment business had better be playing heads up ball or things could get out of hand. To that extent, it needs to be noted that Canadian companies invested in foreign companies to the extent of 70 billion in the last quarter of 2006. So it would seem we now have trade deficits and investment deficits that must be balanced if Canada is to be anything more than a price tag relying on other countries to provide many of the consumer products Canadians are buying.

The Stephen Harper conservatives need to pay very close attention to what is going on in the investment world. They should at least read the 1985 Investment Canada Act.