Evidence of meeting #49 for Finance in the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was approval.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

  • Diane Lafleur  General Director, Financial Sector Policy Branch, Department of Finance
  • Jane Pearse  Director, Financial Institutions Division, Department of Finance
  • Wayne Cole  Procedural Clerk
  • Eleanor Ryan  Senior Chief, Financial Sector Policy Branch, Department of Finance

3:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair James Rajotte

I call this meeting to order, the 49th meeting of the Standing Committee on Finance. The orders of the day, pursuant to the order of reference of Tuesday, February 14, 2012, are Bill S-5, An Act to amend the law governing financial institutions and to provide for related and consequential matters.

We're very pleased to have officials here from the Department of Finance. We have Ms. Diane Lafleur. We have Ms. Jane Pearse, Ms. Leah Anderson, Ms. Eleanor Ryan, Mr. Joseph de Pencier, and Mr. Khusro Saeedi. Thank you all for being with us. You're here obviously for any questions members may have.

Colleagues, we have nine amendments from the official opposition. The first amendment I have deals with clause 53, so we will go through clause-by-clause consideration, and as you know, pursuant to Standing Order 75.1, consideration of clause 1 is postponed. Therefore, the chair will call clause 2.

Now, I'd like to proceed.... Mr. Julian.

3:30 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Before you actually start the clause by clause, I believe Mr. Mai has a question around approvals, which isn't within any clause in the bill itself. Once you've explored how we go about tackling this in a quick way, we could perhaps—

3:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair James Rajotte

Is it a general question on it?

3:30 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

It will be a general question, but it may take a little bit of time to be answered.

3:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair James Rajotte

Okay. Do you want to address that now? Is this a question to the officials?

3:30 p.m.

NDP

Hoang Mai Brossard—La Prairie, QC

It's a question to the officials. Basically it's about trying to know how to move forward on that issue or just a clarification. So it's something that the officials may—

3:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair James Rajotte

And it doesn't relate to a clause in the bill?

3:30 p.m.

NDP

Hoang Mai Brossard—La Prairie, QC

It doesn't relate to a clause in the bill, but it relates to some of the information that we have regarding the briefing notes from the department.

3:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair James Rajotte

Okay. You can do it at the last clause, or you can do it now if you want.

When would you prefer to do it?

3:30 p.m.

NDP

Hoang Mai Brossard—La Prairie, QC

Can we do it now?

3:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair James Rajotte

You want to do it now? Okay.

Just pose your question then.

3:30 p.m.

NDP

Hoang Mai Brossard—La Prairie, QC

According to the information we received, the minister has 30 days to indicate his intention with respect to the acquisition, and if no decision is made in that time, the acquisition is automatically approved. If I understand that correctly, we are referring here to the Bank Act.

To give you some context, we're talking about acquisitions of foreign entities. So the question is to find out why ministerial approval is established in the case of certain acquisitions of foreign entities. Now, if the minister doesn't respond within 30 days, the acquisition is automatically approved. When Minister Menzies appeared before the committee, he said that an in-depth study on the foreign entities was required and that it was important for the consolidation of Canada's banks.

I would like to know how we could ensure that approval is not automatically given. The minister's authorization should really be required. We don't agree with that, but that's another story.

3:30 p.m.

Diane Lafleur General Director, Financial Sector Policy Branch, Department of Finance

The general practice is that the superintendent reviews the proposed transaction and sends a recommendation in writing to the minister. We, the department members, attach our recommendation to the superintendent's. Lastly, the minister approves or does not approve the transaction. In practice, approval happens. It's explicit.

3:30 p.m.

NDP

Hoang Mai Brossard—La Prairie, QC

Could we make sure that it isn't implicit, meaning that the acquisition isn't automatically approved if the minister doesn't respond within 30 days?

3:35 p.m.

General Director, Financial Sector Policy Branch, Department of Finance

Diane Lafleur

In practice, the minister signs the transaction. So he does it explicitly. It's on paper; it's documented.