CCA mobilizes opposition to Chinese state-owned business takeover of Aecon Group

aecon ION
Aecon is involved in one of the first Light Rail Transit projects for the Waterloo Region, and is responsible for the full scope of the design, build, finance, operation and maintenance of the Waterloo LRT system including a 19 kilometres of dual track system, 16 LRT stops, and the operations, maintenance and storage facility. (Image provided by Aecon)

The Canadian Construction Association (CCA) has joined several competing construction businesses in opposing the Canadian government’s approval of the purchase of Aecon Group Inc. by Chinese-government owned CCCC International Holdings Ltd.

In a late January news release, the CCA said that it had announced in an email to its board members, partner associations and corporation members that it “has advised the government of Canada of its opposition to government-owned or controlled entities competing for construction contracts.”

“This is not about competition from foreign construction companies – this is about foreign governments being in the construction business in Canada,” said CCA chair Chris McNally.

“We want a level playing field. Government-owned and government-controlled entities have completely different access to capital and can be influenced by political agendas.”
CCA’s opposition to government-owned or -controlled entities in the construction business is based on one of its long-standing policy statements.

CCA has asked the government to extend the time for review of the CCCI transaction to allow for more fulsome input from industry. Additionally, since the review is well underway, CCA is urging its members to make their views known by writing to Paul Halucha, the senior assistant deputy minister, industry sector.

Earlier this year, a delegation from three competing construction companies reportedly reportedly urged the federal government to block the proposed $1.5-billion Aecon acquisition.

Representatives from PCL Constructors Inc., Ledcor Group and P.W. Graham & Sons Construction met “with senior civil servants in the federal Department of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, which must approve the Aecon takeover, according to sources who took part in the meeting.”

The competitors assert CCCC has a poor track record for safety and corruption, and that a state-controlled Chinese entity is not suited to work on projects with security concerns, such as the refurbishment of Ontario nuclear power stations and building military facilities.


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