A trio of Conservative MPs called on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the federal government to be more responsive to attempts by Swiss-based Glencore to take over Canadian mining giant Teck Resources Ltd. through a shareholder deal.
Kootenay-Columbia MP Rob Morrison was joined by Rick Perkins, MP for South Shore—St. Margarets and opposition critic for innovation, science and industry, and Foothills MP John Barlow, along with Elkford mayor Steve Fairbairn.
All were united in opposition to Glencore’s attempts to purchase Teck Resources Ltd. through a pair of proposed shareholder bids that have played out publicly in recent weeks.
“Conservatives believe that Glencore’s proposals in it’s two takeover bids for Teck Resources are not in the best interests of Canada and do not meet environmental and ethical standards we expect,” said Perkins. “Conservatives oppose Glencore’s attempt to acquire Teck Resources and call on the Liberals to ensure their proposal is rejected.”
The Conservartive opposition was backed by leader Pierre Poilievre, who said he would use the Investment Canada Act to stop the “hostile foreign takeover” of Teck Resources Ltd. by Glencore.
In response to a Black Press media inquiry, the Office of the Prime Minister forwarded recent correspondence to the Vancouver Board of Trade, noting the federal government is following the Teck Resources Ltd. situation “very closely.”
The letter was jointly signed by Liberal cabinet ministers Chrystia Freeland, François-Philippe Champagne and Jonathan Wilkinson.
“The mining of critical minerals is key to the future and only companies that make serious commitments to ESG and strong partnerships with Indigenous Peoples will succeed,” reads the letter. “We need companies like Teck here in Canada companies with a strong commitment to Canada.”
The Conservative Party announcement was held at Fiorentino Bros. Contracting Ltd. in Cranbrook, a local business that is heavily utilized by Teck Resources Ltd. throughout the region.
Earlier this week, Teck Resources Ltd. withdrew a separation proposal where shareholders were asked to consider a plan to spin off the coal operations into a new company, Elk Valley Resources.
Glencore publicly announced its first bid for Teck Resources Ltd. shareholders in early April, and updated the offer just over a week later. Glencore says its latest offer still stands, which includes an $8.2 billion cash offer to shareholders, as well as a 24 per cent stake in a metals company that would be formed if the bid was successful.
In a news release, Teck criticized Glencore’s proposal by noting it carries risks of substantial tax impacts, and execution risks requiring extensive regulatory approvals that would not close for up to two years, if ever.
Perkins specifically noted that there are regulatory tools the federal government can employ whenever a company valued at $1.3 billion or more is taken over by a foreign corporation.
It is under ministerial discretion to review the “net-benefit” to Canada, as well as national security implications, both elements of which are at stake with the Glencore bid, according to Perkins.
Morrison, Barlow and Fairbairn spoke about the local impact of Teck’s four metallurgical (steel-making) coal mines in the Elk Valley, particularly through thousands of direct and indirect jobs in southeastern B.C. and southern Alberta.
Teck was also hailed for financially supporting community issues and infrastructure, while the company’s environmental record was also noted, in spite of ongoing water quality issues in the Elk Valley.
“This hostile takeover has to be more than just a market play and stock value,” said Fairbairn. “This is an issue of Canadian sovereignty, this is an issue of economic stability in the southeast corner of British Columbia and the southwest corner of Alberta. It’s an issue of environmental stewardship of our own backyard.”
Morrison also noted Glencore’s bid could potentially impact Teck’s Trail operations, which is one of the world’s largest fully integrated zinc and lead smelting and refining operations.
“All BC communities have an interest in mining, all of them. We are a mining province and it’s really important we stay focused on that,” Morrison said.