September 28, 2012 / 10:34 PM / 5 years ago

Canadians don't want Parliament to focus on China oil deal: poll

Kevin Reinhart interim President and CEO of Nexen addresses shareholders during the Nexen special meeting of shareholders in Calgary, Alberta, September 20, 2012. REUTERS/Todd Korol

OTTAWA (Reuters) - In a sign Canadians may accept CNOOC Ltd’s $15.1 billion bid to buy Canadian oil company Nexen Inc, a poll released on Friday showed few people want Parliament to focus on foreign ownership of the energy sector.

The Ipsos-Reid survey for Postmedia News and Global Television said only 22 percent of those surveyed felt investment in, or ownership of, the energy sector by China or other countries should be one of Parliament’s top priorities.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper says his Conservative government will take public opinion into account before deciding whether to approve the takeover, which would dwarf the previous record purchase of a Canadian energy asset by a Chinese company.

The Conservatives are split over the bid, with opponents citing China’s human rights record and what they say are Beijing’s unfair business practices.

Ipsos-Reid said 68 percent of Canadians surveyed felt Parliament should focus on healthcare with 66 percent opting for job creation measures.

It also said only 16 percent wanted to see action on pushing through TransCanada Corp’s proposed Keystone XL pipeline, which would take oil to Gulf Coast refineries in the United States.

U.S. President Barack Obama has put off a decision on whether to approve the pipeline until after the November 6 presidential election. That delay prompted Harper to declare that Canada must diversify its export markets and sell oil to China and other Asian nations.

The Ipsos-Reid online survey of 1,014 Canadians was carried out on Sept 25 and 26.

Online polls do not have a margin of error. A phone poll of a similar sample size would be considered to be accurate to within 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by Peter Galloway

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