Ottawa Says It Won't Block Nortel Sale

Prime Minister Stephen Harper is showing little inclination to intervene in the sale of Nortel's prime assets to a foreign buyer, saying he is reluctant to erect protectionist barriers in Canada while preaching the benefits of freer trade in the Americas, The Globe and Mail reported. Mr. Harper rejected a call from Research In Motion Ltd. for the government to simply block the sale of Nortel Networks Corp.'s wireless assets to Ericsson for $1.13-billion, but left open the prospect of a review under the Investment Canada Act. The Prime Minister, who inked a new free-trade deal with Panama Tuesday – the Conservative government's fifth such accord since taking power – was asked if Canadians should abandon hope of keeping Nortel assets in Canada. “There's a process, a process of review of purchases by foreign companies. And we will respect this process,” Mr. Harper said. “At the same time, we do not intend to increase protectionism in investment questions when we are in a global campaign to encourage free trade.” Read more.