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Political Points: Harper’s nightmare is China buying up all of Canada’s oil

Three polar bears are seen on the Beaufort Sea coast within the 1002 Area of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

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Political Points is your daily guide to some of the stories we're watching in Ottawa and across Canada, by The Globe and Mail's team of political reporters

Harper's nightmare: China buying up all of Canada's oil

Prime Minister Stephen Harper had been worried for months, sources tell The Globe's John Ibbitson, that a rising China would snap up a major Canadian oil producer. State-owned CNOOC's announcement that it wanted Canada's Nexen was a bad omen for Mr. Harper. That's why he felt he had to send a message. In Ottawa, the House of Commons will, among other things, debate the NDP's Opposition Day motion about the Investment Canada Act – so expect a lot about the CNOOC/Nexen ruling, which the NDP says was too opaque.

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And today in Calgary, the Canadian Council of Chief Executives host a conference called "Canada in the Pacific Century" about the effect of Asia's rise on Canada's energy sector.

*ICYMI: Everything you need to know about Nexen

Politicos, pundits and businesspeople are still chewing over the foreign-takeover decision and how it applies to state-owned enterprises. The Globe published a variety of opinions and viewpoints over the weekend, so here's some lunch-time reading to make sure you're caught up.

  • The view from Beijing: China hopes this will help end ‘bias’ against its country’s large investors.
  • The view from Ottawa: John Ibbitson argues the foreign-takeover ruling and F-35 controversy demonstrate real policy incoherence.
  • The view from labour: Canadian energy doesn’t need foreign capital, thank you.
  • The view from the inner circle: How the Harper government made its decision.

* For those of you not on Twitter: "In case you missed it."

Ten-year anniversary of a three-walled jail?

One decade ago on Dec. 10, 2002, Mohamed Harkat was arrested and spent the next four years jailed on allegations he was a sleeper agent tied to terrorists from Afghanistan. Though the Algerian asylum seeker was released onto house arrest in 2006, he is still kept under constant surveillance.

At a press conference and rally this morning on Parliament Hill, Mr. Harkat will publicly condemn the so-called "security certificate" process used to curb his liberties. He will be joined by Green Party Leader Elizabeth May, NDP public safety critic Randall Garrison and a variety of others.

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The polarizing power is defended by federal officials who argue it is rarely invoked and amounts to a three-walled jail – immigrants can leave Canada and go home at their leisure. Problem is, however, security certificates tend to target alleged Islamist extremists who are usually understandably reluctant to return to the torture states they hail from. And it can be illegal for Canada to send immigrants back to countries where they are at risk of torture.

While the courts frequently weigh in on security certificates, judges tend to endlessly weigh in on the finer points of the tensions between national-security imperatives and individual liberties, but without forcing a resolution either way.

– by Colin Freeze, who reports on national security from Toronto

Our true north strong and full of resources

Canada's largest gathering on Arctic issues runs all week in Vancouver, featuring scientists, policy makers and stakeholders from the North. Canada takes over as chair of the Arctic Council next year. As climate change melts Arctic ice, more natural resources are being unlocked and countries with a stake in the region are jockeying for access.

By the numbers: the three collecting most of the Ontario Liberal endorsements

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Of the seven former and recent cabinet ministers running to replace Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty, three are cleaning up the endorsements from the party establishment. Éric Grenier of ThreeHundredEight.com did the analysis for The Globe, which sets a clear boundary between the candidates: those with a lot of caucus support and those without. Of the three at the top, two are the candidates who aren't still sitting in the legislature – possibly giving them more room to separate themselves from the current McGuinty government.

Speaking of the Ontario Liberal leadership race, the party held their fourth face-off yesterday in Thunder Bay. It produced one of the stronger policy positions we've yet seen at the debates – which have generally been tame – from Glen Murray, a former Winnipeg Mayor who now represents a provincial riding in downtown Toronto. Mr. Murray proposed creating a regional government for Northern Ontario, part of his pitch as a northern – and rural-focused leadership candidate.

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About the Author
Assistant editor, Ottawa

Chris Hannay is assistant editor in The Globe's Ottawa bureau and author of the daily Politics newsletter. Previously, he was The Globe and Mail's digital politics editor, community editor for news and sports (working with social media and digital engagement) and a homepage editor. More

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