April 10, 2018 by Jillian Morgan
Nearly three in four Canadians oppose the sale of Aecon to state-owned China Communications Construction Company (CCCC), according to a recent poll conducted by research firm Ipsos on behalf of PCL Constructors, Ledcor Group and Graham Group.
Of those surveyed, 27 per cent support the takeover while 29 per cent strongly oppose the sale and 44 per cent somewhat oppose the sale.
Even more, the majority of respondents agree the federal government should prevent the sale of Canadian companies to foreign investors – up seven points since a similar poll conducted in 2012.
Concerns about national security, quality and fairness are top of mind for Canadians, which likely informs opinions on acquisitions by foreign entities, according to Ipsos.
The majority of respondents – 80 per cent – agree the sale wouldn’t be fair to other Canadian construction and engineering companies, as those companies would have to bid against a Chinese government-owned and backed company.
A majority (77 per cent) believe that if the sale goes through, jobs and after-tax profits will flow from Canada to China.
The same proportion are concerned that Chinese ownership of Aecon would have an impact on the quality of the materials, architecture and engineering used for major construction contracts in Canada.
Concerns about a foreign government-owned company in a position to build critical Canadian infrastructure was held by 82 per cent of those surveyed.
Despite an overwhelming opposition to the takeover, Ipsos found that Canadians were divided on the impact of the sale to foreign relations and the economy.
Of those surveyed, 48 per cent believe the sale will allow Aecon to bid on larger and more complex projects in Canada and internationally. Similarly, 47 per cent agree that if the government blocks the sale of Aecon, it will hurt Canada’s relationship with China.
Nearly two thirds of respondents agree that foreign investment is essential to national economic growth.
The $1.5 billion proposed takeover is currently undergoing a national security review by the federal government. Of Canadians surveyed, 11 per cent say they have seen, read or heard about the takeover, while 63 per cent claim to have not heard about it at all.