House of Commons Hansard #35 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was investment.

Topics

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:40 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Question No. 127
Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:40 p.m.

Liberal

Michelle Simson Scarborough Southwest, ON

With regard to applications for permanent residence processed by the Canadian High Commission in Nairobi: (a) how many spousal sponsorships, parental sponsorships and independent applicant cases have been received since the 2007-2008 fiscal year up to and including the current; (b) how many of the spousal sponsorships, parental sponsorships and independent applicants since the 2007-2009 fiscal year cases (i) were accepted, (ii) are still in process, (iii) have been refused, and for what reason; (c) what is the current length of time required to process the applications for (i) spousal sponsorships, (ii) parental sponsorships, (iii) independent applicants; (d) how many cases are in backlog and are or were the subject of enhanced security background checks; (e) how many staff are employed to process applications; and (f) what additional resources have been allocated to process the case backlog?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 129
Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:40 p.m.

Liberal

Michelle Simson Scarborough Southwest, ON

With regard to Variety Village, a charity in the constituency of Scarborough Southwest: (a) on what grounds was its application for funding under the Recreational Infrastructure Canada program denied; (b) on what grounds was its application for $1,633,137 in federal funding under the Infrastructure Stimulus fund denied; and (c) does the government have any intention to allocate funding to Variety Village before it hosts events for the 2015 Paralympics Pan Am Games?

(Return tabled)

Question No. 134
Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:40 p.m.

Liberal

Rob Oliphant Don Valley West, ON

With regard to potential transfer of Ste. Anne’s Hospital to the provincial government: (a) how many veterans are currently occupying beds in the hospital; (b) how many total beds are currently being unused; (c) what assurances are being given to veterans that their medical care needs will take precedence over non-veterans at the hospital after the transfer; (d) what precedence is given to allied veterans who are now Canadian citizens; (e) what precedence is being given to veterans who served in Korea, as Peacekeepers, and in Afghanistan at this medical facility; (f) what consultations has Veterans Affairs Canada undertaken with Ste. Anne’s residents, staff, local officials, and veterans organizations; (g) when did these consultations occur; and (h) what Veterans Affairs Canada officials were in attendance for these consultations?

(Return tabled)

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:40 p.m.

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre, SK

Mr. Speaker, I ask that all remaining questions be allowed to stand.

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:40 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

Is that agreed?

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
Routine Proceedings

3:40 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Motions for Papers
Routine Proceedings

April 28th, 2010 / 3:40 p.m.

Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre
Saskatchewan

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I ask that all notices of motion for the production of papers be allowed to stand.

Motions for Papers
Routine Proceedings

3:40 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Peter Milliken

Is that agreed?

Motions for Papers
Routine Proceedings

3:40 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Official Report
Routine Proceedings

3:40 p.m.

NDP

Don Davies Vancouver Kingsway, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am rising to correct the record, with regard to my speech at second reading on Bill C-5, An Act to amend the International Transfer of Offenders Act.

In my speech, I stated that not one offender, who has been granted a transfer back to Canada to resume and serve his or her sentence, has ever reoffended.

I misquoted that statistic. In fact, of 620 Canadians transferred back to Canada between 1993 and 2007, four were re-incarcerated for a new offence within two years after the expiry of their sentence. This represents a recidivism rate of 0.6% for Canadians transferred under this legislation, which compares to a recidivism rate of approximately 25% for offenders in general.

Of course we cannot compare it to the rate of offenders who are not transferred but return to Canada after serving their sentence abroad because those offenders re-enter Canada with no monitoring or record of their foreign convictions. So we do not know what those numbers are.

Mr. Speaker, thank you for giving me the opportunity to correct the inaccuracy in the record. Although my point is nevertheless valid, I regret any confusion I may have caused.

Opposition Motion—Investment Canada Act
Business of Supply
Government Orders

3:45 p.m.

NDP

Claude Gravelle Nickel Belt, ON

moved:

That, given the government's failure to act in the best interest of Canada when it allowed the sell-off of Inco, Falconbridge, Stelco and Nortel, the government should act immediately to protect the interests of Canadian workers, their communities and the strategic and long-term interests of the Canadian economy, by improving its review of foreign takeovers that involve key Canadian resource, manufacturing, high tech and, potentially, telecommunications companies, by strengthening the Investment Canada Act by: (a) lowering the threshold for public review; (b) ensuring public hearings are held in affected communities; and (c) requiring publication of the reasons for decisions and conditions to be met by approved foreign owners.

Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with my colleague from Timmins—James Bay, and I would like to thank my colleague from Windsor West for his invaluable contribution.

Today, this House will be debating a motion that speaks to one of the main reasons I have pursued public life: the need for this Parliament and for this government to protect the resources that belong to the Canadian people and their communities.

Having spent my whole life in northern Ontario, I can tell my hon. colleagues in this chamber that my community is living proof of the current government's and previous government's failures to protect the interests of Canadian workers, their communities and the strategic and long-term interests of the Canadian economy as a whole.

To be clear, the NDP is not against foreign investment. We are opposed to the kind of foreign takeovers we have witnessed in my community of Greater Sudbury. I will come back to this point later.

At a critical time of increasing global energy needs due to growing economies, country after country has begun to view its supply of natural resources as an issue of national security. China, for example, is investing in iron ore, gold, silver, copper, aluminum and coal in countries around the world. Others such as Vietnam, Russia and India are following suit. Indonesia, an exporter of coal, has begun scaling back its exports.

It begs the following question. Why is Canada not assessing its key sectors, such as natural resources, manufacturing, high tech including green technologies, and telecommunications, through the filter of long-term strategic need?

Canada, it seems, is heading in the opposite direction of many countries by increasing significantly the minimum threshold upon which a federal review of a foreign takeover takes place.

In other words, the government is telling the world to help itself to our natural resources, our technologies and our intellectual property. While it is at it, it is also signalling them not to worry about those conditions of sale the federal government imposes, because the federal government will not pursue them even when they break their contract.

One only has to look at the government's disgraceful behaviour during the Vale Inco strike in my community. In Greater Sudbury 3,200 workers, members of the United Steelworkers Local 6500, remain on strike because Brazilian-owned Vale Inco has refused to return to the negotiating table.

The government just stays silent and claims it is provincial jurisdiction, all the while meeting with Vale Inco representatives 25 times since 2008. So much for this strike being a purely provincial matter.

The strike at Vale Inco is a perfect example of why we need the House today to support the motion, which seeks to strengthen the Investment Canada Act to prevent the very situation that community after community is facing across Canada today.

Briefly, the motion calls for lowering the threshold for public review of foreign takeovers, ensuring public hearings are held in affected communities, and requiring publication of the reasons for decisions and conditions to be met by approved foreign owners.

Here is a fact. There have been more than 13,500 foreign takeovers in Canada, 334 in the last year. Here is another fact. The federal government has disallowed only one. That is right, one. That was due in large measure to the work of the NDP caucus and former NDP member, Peggy Nash, in particular.

Here are some more facts:

In 2007, for the first time since 1999, foreign-controlled companies operating in Canada held 52.8% of manufacturing assets, up from 46.8% in 2006.

Statistics Canada reported that the increase “was due largely to foreign acquisitions of Canadian-controlled firms, especially in the primary metals and wood and paper industries.”

In 2007, foreign-controlled firms held 38.5% of Canada’s oil and gas industries, 48.8% of operating revenues, and 44.6 % of operating profits.

In one year alone, 2006, foreign control of Canada’s mining sector rose from 12% to 40%.

This issue that our caucus has laid before this House today is both timely and critical.

On the motion's second point, stakeholder and community consultation, it remains deeply perplexing to me why the government has not conducted such consultations prior to making a decision on a proposed foreign takeover.

If the government had consulted with the community of Greater Sudbury, a community that has had decades and decades of experience with mining, it would have heard about people's concerns as to whether Vale Inco understood the community's history with mining, or our strong labour roots, or the importance we place on trust and good faith in negotiations.

Vale, in turn, would have gleaned some insight into the fact that union busting was a non-starter in northern Ontario.

I want to stress, though, that this is not just about northern Ontario. It is about all of Canada. Every community, including our northern and first nations communities, must have a say in the development of key resource sectors.

Finally, I want to touch on the third element of my motion, and that is transparency. The government and previous governments have been ignorant or blind to the fact that a foreign entity does not buy our natural resources. It is merely leasing them.

Those resources belong to the people of Canada.

Canadians have the right to know the decisions that form the basis of approval by their government and the key conditions that must be met by foreign companies when they take over a Canadian company.

We are not asking for 100% disclosure. We understand the need for protecting certain information. But there has to be greater transparency. The status quo simply will not do.

We need only to ask those employees who have been laid off despite company commitments to protect those jobs.

I want to be clear that the motion is about protecting Canada's long-term strategic interests. It is not about stopping foreign investment in Canada, but it is about stopping foreign takeovers that are not a net benefit to Canada, for example, those companies that seek to come into a community, conduct high grading of our purest forms of key resources and then pack up and leave when they are done.

We support and welcome foreign investment in Canada because our companies are also investing in other countries. It makes good business sense. In 2008, for example, Canadian direct investment abroad totalled $637 billion and foreign direct investment in Canada totalled $505 billion.

Keep in mind that at least 15% of investment overseas by Canadians, or almost $100 billion, went to tax havens, like the Bahamas, Bermuda, and the Cayman Islands—which have no income tax)—, an amount several times greater than the GDP of those countries.

Therefore, before my Conservative colleagues across the way spring these numbers, I would want them to acknowledge that tax evasion is not foreign investment—it is simply tax evasion.

In this competitive global environment, we need to balance the strategic interests of our country and its people with the need to foster a fair and level playing field for both Canadian and foreign companies wishing to invest in Canada. The status quo is failing Canadians. The government has yet to articulate exactly what its net benefit test is when it approves takeover after takeover. This motion addresses some of the key weaknesses of the current system.

I hope that, together, we as parliamentarians can begin to address this imbalance by protecting the interests of Canadian workers, their communities and the strategic and long-term interests of the Canadian economy.