Now that Investment Canada has rejected BHP Billiton's hostile takeover bid and the sky has not fallen, perhaps we can finally dispense with the tired argument that restrictions on foreign investment will leave Canada no longer "open for business."
In fact, virtually every OECD country has more stringent restrictions on foreign investment than Canada.
In recent years, the United States has blocked the Chinese takeover of Unocal and the sale of U.S. ports to Dubai Ports Worldwide. In France, rumours of a takeover of Danone by Pepsi forced the French government to draft a law protecting "strategic industries" in that country. Even in Australia, home of BHP, the government rejected a takeover bid for Australian energy company Woodside Petroleum Ltd by Shell Oil on the grounds that is was not in the nation's economic interest.
Canada is not taking a radical stance in rejecting a foreign takeover; it is merely joining with the rest of the world in the realization that nations have vital economic interests that need to be protected. Truly a novel idea.
This commentary first appeared in the November 5th edition of the Regina Leader-Post