Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
The motion reads:
That the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology recommend that the Minister of Industry, Jim Prentice, utilise his discretion under the Investment Canada Act to halt the proposed sale of MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd. to Alliant Techsystems until such time that a full hearing into the sale is conducted by this Committee.
My rationale for this is that the minister has the ability to okay this sale under the Investment Canada Act. There are many questions that need to be raised about the sale, some of which perhaps the minister can answer, some of which perhaps others should be answering. They are questions related to the investment that Canada has made into the technology that's being sold. We've spent hundreds of millions of Canadian tax dollars in developing a RADARSAT technology.
There are questions about how this is going to be used. Will Canada get the access from this technology that it was intended to get under Bill C-25, passed by a previous government, concerning the operation of remote sensing space systems? There are questions about the company that this technology is being sold to or that the business is being sold to and what that means in terms of our compliance with international treaties, such as the land mine treaty. Are there other international conventions that may be affected by that? We've already been told by other members of this committee that the proceedings of the Investment Canada Act are confidential, for the most part, so we won't necessarily get answers to these questions. We'd like to know about the impact on employment. There are 1,900 employees in this company. What will it mean under ITAR? If this technology, if this process, comes under ITAR, will Canadians be able to work on this technology or will it in fact have to shift to the U.S.?
There are a number of concerns about the sale, the technology, the economic impact, and the time factor. The minister has 30 days once an application has been submitted. I understand the application for sale has been submitted. He may enact an extension, but we don't know if he's going to do that. I'd like to know why the need for a sale when this is technology that was designed primarily to provide surveillance of the land mass of Canada in the Arctic and surrounding maritime areas.
There are many questions that need to be answered. The fundamental rationale is that the minister could very quickly okay this deal and then it's too late for us to ask these questions. If we have concerns or if we believe it's not in the interests of Canadians, it's too late for us to act.