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The Dog That Hasn't Barked: The Political Economy of Contemporary Debates on Canadian Foreign Investment Policies

  • Geoffrey Hale (a1)


Abstract. This article examines the responses of Canadian business leaders, national newspapers, and governments to record numbers of foreign takeovers of Canadian-based firms in 2004–2007. It assesses the political, economic, financial market, and regulatory contexts for takeover activity in historical, macro-economic, and micro-economic contexts in light of Canada's historically firm-centred business culture. It summarizes five dimensions of policy and media discourse on the interrelated issues of foreign investment and corporate consolidation, including debates on “hollowing out” and “national champions.” It concludes that the limited influence of nationalist and related business interests on recent Canadian government policies reflects Canada's growing economic interdependence with other countries, particularly the growing role played by Canadian-based multinationals in foreign markets.

Résumé. Le présent article examine la réaction des leaders du monde des affaires canadien, des journaux nationaux et des gouvernements devant le nombre record de prises de contrôle étrangères de sociétés exerçant leur activités au Canada entre 2004 et 2007. Il évalue l'activité de prise de contrôle selon les données de la politique, de l'économie, des marchés financiers et de la réglementation, dans des contextes historique, macroéconomique et microéconomique, compte tenu de la culture des affaires canadienne, traditionnellement axée sur l'entreprise. Il présente un sommaire des cinq dimensions des politiques et du discours des médias sur des questions liées : l'investissement étranger et la consolidation des sociétés, dont le débat sur l'«évidement» et les «champions nationaux». Il conclut que le peu d'influence des intérêts commerciaux nationalistes ou apparentés sur les politiques récentes du gouvernement du Canada reflète l'interdépendance croissante entre le Canada et d'autres pays et, notamment, le rôle croissant sur les marchés étrangers des multinationales établies au Canada.


Corresponding author

Geoffrey Hale, University of Lethbridge, 4401 University Drive West, Lethbridge, Alberta T1K 3M4, Canada,


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