Canada says open to foreign resource investment

TORONTO Wed Oct 16, 2013 6:18pm EDT

TORONTO Oct 16 (Reuters) - Canada's Conservative government, which has raised investor concerns in recent years by blocking a handful of foreign-based acquisitions, used a major policy speech on Wednesday to stress it will be open to offshore investment in its resource sector.

It its Speech from the Throne, which formally starts a new session of parliament, the government noted Canada's historic dependence on its resource industry and said the window for Canada to gain access to new markets will not remain open indefinitely.

"Our government will continue to ensure that our natural resource sectors remain open to foreign investment when it is market-oriented and in the long-term interests of Canadians," in the speech presented by Governor General David Johnston.

"Now more than ever, our future prosperity depends on responsible development of these resources. At the same time, our Government has taken action to ensure that Canada's resources do not fall under foreign government control."

Investors have become increasingly wary about Canada's foreign investment rules after Ottawa blocked deals such as the 2010 attempt by BHP Billiton to acquire fertilizer giant Potash Corp.

Last year, Ottawa allowed China's CNOCC Ltd to buy domestic energy company Nexen, but made it clear state-controlled companies would not be allowed to buy majority stakes in oil sands projects.

The government also said it will take steps to increase the safety of transportation of dangerous goods and will require shippers and railways to carry addition insurance, following the derailment and explosion of a train hauling fuel in a small Quebec town this summer that killed 47 people.