|The oilsands. (SUN MEDIA/Pascal Ratthé)
OTTAWA - Environment Minister Peter Kent is pouring cold water over concerns Canada is giving up its security and sovereignty by allowing Chinese investment in Alberta's oilsands.
"Canada is looking to responsible investments by companies from around the world," Kent said in Toronto on Monday. "They will be subject to the rules and the regulations of investment and of proper corporate behaviour, and with regards to the environment, of confirming with environmental regulations."
Last week, Green Party Leader Elizabeth May warned that Chinese oilsands investment opens Canada to foreign influence, while exporting bitumen costs domestic upgrading and refining jobs.
In an e-mailed statement, Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver questioned May's motives, noting that her party "is advocating for a moratorium on oil sands development that would destroy a Canadian industry."
Meantime, Conservative MP and staunch oilsands defender Brian Jean said he stands by concerns he once expressed about foreign oilsands investment.
"I am not prepared to let a country invest here if they have human rights violations which are not changing," Jean told QMI Agency in September 2005.
Jean also argued in favour of refining oilsands oil in Canada.
"Instead of pumping raw crude down to Texas, or to the eastern states, we should refine it, we should make petroleum or plastics out of it, let's get as much value added after it."
But Jean now adds with the current glut in refining capacity "it would take subsidization" to encourage more domestic refining, something he opposes "in any stage" of production.