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OTTAWA (Reuters) - The opposition New Democratic Party, increasing pressure on the government to reject Anglo-Australian miner BHP Billiton's hostile takeover bid for Canadian fertilizer giant Potash Corp, said on Friday it wants legislators to adopt a motion opposing the bid.
Under the terms of the Investment Canada Act, the minority Conservative government has until November 3 to announce whether it will allow or block the bid.
The left-leaning New Democrats cited what they said was a string of takeovers of Canadian firms by foreign companies that subsequently broke undertakings they made to the government to preserve jobs. They said they wanted the Investment Canada Act, which screens takeovers of Canadian companies by foreign entities, to be rewritten to make it tougher and more transparent.
The motion also calls on the House of Commons to "express its opposition to the takeover of Potash Corp by BHP". The motion is nonbinding.
"We've seen too many Canadian corporate jewels fall quietly into foreign hands. But the discontent is getting louder. Communities aren't happy about the plant closures, lost jobs and pension shortfalls," NDP leader Jack Layton said in a statement.
"There is nothing wrong with foreign companies investing in Canada, but it's up to the government to make sure those investments enhance our local economies instead of diminishing them," he added.
The Conservatives only have a minority of seats in the House of Commons and rely on opposition legislators to govern
Potash Corp shares were C$1.35 higher at C$147.35 on the Toronto Stock Exchange at midday on Friday.
Reporting by David Ljunggren; editing by Peter Galloway