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Results: 1 - 15 of 145
View Brian Masse Profile
NDP (ON)
View Brian Masse Profile
2021-05-10 15:10 [p.6963]
Mr. Speaker, cross-border vaccination deals have been made by Manitoba with North Dakota, Alberta with Montana and Ontario is negotiating with Michigan. The federal government has completely failed to help on this, like it did with delivering vaccines in time to avoid a third wave.
For months, I have been requesting the establishment of a border task force to ensure businesses and families are part of developing a safe border plan. Now the U.S. Senate majority leader has engaged Congress in demanding a border plan.
When will the Prime Minister finally do his job and establish a safe border task force instead of him and a select few making it up on the fly?
View Brian Masse Profile
NDP (ON)
View Brian Masse Profile
2021-05-10 17:08 [p.6978]
Madam Speaker, I will be splitting my time with the member for South Okanagan—West Kootenay.
I am pleased to respond to this report. It is important to recognize the good work done on it, but there is no doubt we are here not by accident but by design. The design has been to ignore the environment, to ignore the concerns of the people of the state of Michigan, to ignore the realities of aging infrastructure and to not be up front about the true cost of it in our economic business model.
I represent Windsor West. I was a member of council starting in 1997, representing the Detroit River, and have been a member federally since 2002. I can say that our relationship with the United States is one that is always complex and always involved. What is clear is that it is moving faster—
View Brian Masse Profile
NDP (ON)
View Brian Masse Profile
2021-05-10 17:09 [p.6979]
Madam Speaker, I will repeat that we are here for a reason. It is by design. It is designed for us not to take our aging infrastructure, in the oil and gas industry in particular, for granted while we focus on the new economy and sustainable energy.
As the vice-chair of the Canada-United States Inter-Parliamentary association, and as the NDP critic for industry and the Great Lakes, I have seen that the United States has decided to move farther than Canada has on the environment. Often through the Democratic movement, but even under the Republicans, the U.S. has certainly had more strenuous environmental practices than our side has had over here.
We are faced now with a crisis that has come about over the last number of months not by accident, but by ignoring what has been taking place. We have not even learned anything during this process. Regarding Line 5 and its connection to the Great Lakes, Governor Whitmer has been clear on this for a long time, as she has on her concern about the Great Lakes and the environmental effects. There is no doubt that Enbridge, with its previous indiscretion at Kalamazoo, has broken trust in many respects. It was not just that one incident. There were many other places.
The pinnacle of the debate happening at the moment is that the budget that was just tabled and discussed did not even include the words “Great Lakes”. The United States are putting billions of dollars into protecting the Great Lakes, with a governor expressing concerns about a refurbished pipeline. The pipeline is something we believe is important and needs to be refurbished because of our connection to it and our dependency on it, as well as because of our lack of a commitment to develop alternatives to it. However, the government did not even mention the Great Lakes in the budget once. How is that possible, when members of Congress and the Senate have specifically written to the government asking about putting money together to work on the Great Lakes' environmental sustainability? The U.S. is putting billions of dollars into it.
The International Joint Commission of the Great Lakes binational treaty is one of the best in the world. It deals with water and the environment. It needs stronger legislation to allow it to do even better work. It is a part of the international agreements that we have and is something to be proud of, regarding our sharing some of the most important freshwater in the world, yet there is no mention of it in the budget. No one cared enough to throw a bone, so to speak, to the Governor of Michigan or to the other environmental concerns being expressed here. With all those billions of dollars being spent, there was no specific commitment to, or even a mention of, the Great Lakes.
Given that I am on the front lines of the Detroit River here, I can tell colleagues that there is incredible interest and opportunity to improve the environment, the ecosystem and energy alternatives. Detroit, Michigan, has spent over $10 billion on electric vehicles, other types of energy efficiencies and a new age of automotive production. Meanwhile, throughout Canada over the last four or five years, we have seen a paltry $6 billion spent not on greenfield sites, but on the refurbishment of plants. These refurbishments have come about because of collective bargaining opportunities from Unifor. We can thank Jerry Dias and the rest of the bargaining committee for opening the door for those types of investments. At the same time, in Detroit, Ohio and Indiana they have been receiving billions of dollars for their electrification and manufacturing industries.
The Prime Minister famously said in London, Ontario, that we had to transition out of manufacturing. We did that, and have seen how that served us through COVID in vaccine production, innovation and a response for alternatives. We are behind, and we are behind for a reason. We have decided to basically skate for many, many years. I have seen this in the House of Commons. In terms of signed agreements, whether the Kyoto agreement or others, Canada continually misses its targets. However, right in our lap, across the lake, a series of environmental movements are taking place for the citizens of Michigan. All we had to do was to engage our councils and trade offices. We have the connections and the people on the ground here who understand what is taking place. They understand that the governor and the commitment to shut down Line 5 have been front and centre, in many respects, for a long time. What did we do in response? We are just going to try to lobby what we can. We did not even offer something back in return.
We are now going to have to rely upon using tactics like invoking an international treaty on pipelines versus being a co-operative partner to improve the environment we share. We always talk about offsets. Why would the government not, at the very least, do an offset for the state of Michigan to show some support for, and the importance of, the Great Lakes system that we share, whether it be its fisheries or ecosystems? I am still fighting for a national urban park on a piece of property the Windsor port owns. The port is staffed by the citizens of our country. It wants millions of taxpayer dollars or it is going to bulldoze it.
I had an event in Windsor before COVID on building a national urban park. Members of the Michigan Department of Environment came in full regalia to be part of it. Representatives of the federal department came to a public meeting in the city of Windsor. They crossed the border because our ecosystems are tied together: the wildlife, the fish, the fauna and 110 different endangered species. For eight years, I have been fighting for the protection of that property. For the last number of years, I have been fighting the federal government to transfer this piece of property to the Ministry of the Environment instead of it having bulldozed, and there has still been no commitment for that.
In all of this, we do not even throw a bone to Michigan's concerns. We do not give the State any recognition that its concerns are valid, and they are. Let us look at Kalamazoo. How can we have a serious debate about this issue but not look at the consequences of what took place in Kalamazoo and at least give a nod that this has some serious issues?
Having said that, the government is back on the particular position that we are going to have to rely upon an international agreement or some arm-twisting from Washington on the State of Michigan, with us offering it nothing. It is a terrible proposition. There is no offset from us. There is nothing other than us trying to put ourselves in a strong position because of international agreements and obligations. As opposed to this, we could have gotten in front of this with some improvements and suggestions. Who is going to pay for this at the end of the day, if Line 5 closes? It will be the working people: The people doing the heavy lifting and hard work that is necessary every day to run our economy as we try to transition. We should transition, but we still need Line 5 for farms, the auto sector, manufacturing, gas for our cars, airports and all of those things.
One of the first things I did when I came to Parliament was table a motion for a petroleum monitoring agency to ensure consumer accountability. It was something that was put in place once before, but was never funded. What is the backup plan right now to protect consumers from being hosed by the industry if there is speculation or a potential reduction of service products such as oil, gas, propane and so forth? There will be no protection for them because the Competition Bureau does not have the capability to provide it.
Individuals across Ontario, and in other places eventually as well, will be completely vulnerable to the oil and gas industry and some of the pricing issues we have seen in the past. They have had to be dragged front and centre, but it has taken a long time. It has been expensive for a lot of people, and we still do not even have the basic supports or decency to provide reporting mechanisms that will protect consumers. We have no plan for that either.
Our plan going forward is not going to be anything significant or anything that will grant faith or some type of good gesture to the State of Michigan about this. That is what is backwards about this debate we have been having. It has been total neglect from the government. Let us look at infrastructure in the Windsor-Detroit region. I started working on a new border crossing and my first public meeting was in 1998. The Gordie Howe International Bridge is finally being built, but the infrastructure that supports this, and 38% of the Canadian economy, is about 100 years old. There is a tunnel for cars and trucks, a bridge and another tunnel for trains.
We are here for a reason. We have been on borrowed time, and if we do not do anything about it and address the issues from the State of Michigan, then all we can do is rely on arm-twisting. That is not being a good neighbour.
View Brian Masse Profile
NDP (ON)
View Brian Masse Profile
2021-05-10 17:20 [p.6980]
Madam Speaker, we are here to speak about Line 5. Of course, preparation for an election and a debate about it is important, but where is the member and his government with regard to recognizing and providing some supports to Michigan.
I spent a lot of my time talking about it. Why are the Great Lakes not mentioned in the budget? How atrocious is that. How disrespectful is it to the state of Michigan and to the environmental movement there. Where are some of the extra supports against the political leverage taking place by respecting some of their concerns and partnering where they have asked for that?
Why has the government not even responded to the senators and Congress. They have asked the Canadian government for support, to at least put in our percentage of rehabilitation of the Great Lakes. This is a missed opportunity. We still do not see the government doing that. The government could do it tomorrow. It could come forward and say it made mistake by leaving the Great Lakes out of some of its economic formula. Maybe that would alleviate some of the tension.
View Brian Masse Profile
NDP (ON)
View Brian Masse Profile
2021-05-10 17:22 [p.6981]
Madam Speaker, quite simply, it is so late in the day. I have seen the program and what has been offered, and its abysmal record with Kalamazoo flies in the face of everything.
It should have been on bended knee to the State of Michigan about Kalamazoo, and it was not. All we have to do is talk to the NGOs of different organizations about the irreparable harm it did to the environment. It has zero credibility. It needed partners to actually bolster its credibility with guarantees that go beyond just the immediacy.
That is the problem. The pattern of behaviour has just been atrocious. It is no wonder we are in the situation we are right now.
View Brian Masse Profile
NDP (ON)
View Brian Masse Profile
2021-05-10 17:23 [p.6981]
Madam Speaker, I worry, because right now we have the Province of Ontario finally negotiating with Michigan. That was after I had been asking for months for the federal government to step in and do similar programs as were done for COVID assistance for our travellers. The federal government is absent from that. It could have played a central role. We have seen Manitoba, North Dakota, Alberta and Montana. I asked the government a question in the House of Commons today and it was totally ignored. There was nothing near an answer to what I asked. I am concerned.
We do need a manufacturing strategy. We never should have abandoned manufacturing. It is a point of national security. It is a point of pride. With the innovation taking place, it is a missed opportunity.
I am a little worried right now because Ontario is negotiating with Michigan to get people vaccinated. Every vaccine we get over there means somebody over here gets a vaccine sooner. At the same time, our federal government is doing this, and it will not even throw them a bone.
View Brian Masse Profile
NDP (ON)
View Brian Masse Profile
2021-05-10 17:38 [p.6983]
Mr. Speaker, was it not odd, in terms of negotiating, that Canada did not deal anything to the State of Michigan during the budget? We did not even mention the Great Lakes. If we were really concerned about the political position the governor was in and the concerns and priorities she had, how could we not have followed through by the request of Congress and the Senate to actually do something for the Great Lakes?
View Brian Masse Profile
NDP (ON)
View Brian Masse Profile
2021-05-10 19:30 [p.7000]
Mr. Speaker, I will ask a quick question. First, prorogation took more than a couple of days. It is disingenuous to suggest that is all it was.
I would ask the parliamentary secretary what he feels about recommendation 2 and whether he supports it.
View Brian Masse Profile
NDP (ON)
View Brian Masse Profile
2021-05-10 19:31 [p.7000]
Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. Just to make sure it is clear, I am actually one of the authors of the report, so I have read it.
View Brian Masse Profile
NDP (ON)
View Brian Masse Profile
2021-05-10 20:04 [p.7005]
Mr. Speaker, I want to recognize my colleague for how co-operative he is. It has been good to work with him. The industry committee generally has a good reputation for taking a thoughtful and less partisan approach. I want to thank the member for his really solid contribution here. He came really well prepared and that needs to be acknowledged.
I want to ask him a specific question about Rona's takeover of Lowe's, especially given the pandemic and that lumber materials have been increasing in price. What we have now is a loss of competition and supply, and I think that really affects people's quality of life in a different light than ever before.
I would like to ask for the member's reflections on that, because Rona is, of course, a proud Quebec company that exists not only in Quebec, where its foundation is from, but across our country.
View Brian Masse Profile
NDP (ON)
View Brian Masse Profile
2021-05-10 20:09 [p.7006]
Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to talk about this report. It is a very important one. The discussion of the Investment Canada Act has been very lively for many years.
This report is the result of a motion from the member for Calgary Nose Hill, and there was much support to bring it to fruition. I want to thank all the witnesses who came forward to present and also those who made submissions. I also want to thank the staff. Our legislative crew is excellent. The researchers and analysts always did a good job during the process on a very complicated issue. We have a report that is quite extensive, about 50 pages of materials that have been condensed, reflecting some of the concerns that emerged from the sale of Canadian companies, but also the loss of sovereignty, in some respects, in the lost investments.
I will start, though, by discussing something that took place in the debate tonight that related to the parliamentary secretary. It will be interesting to see how the Liberals configure their position out of that. I asked about recommendation 2, which is, “That the Government of Canada introduce legislation to amend the Investment Canada Act so that thresholds are reviewed on an annual basis.” The Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister, if we think it is significant, responded by saying he supported the recommendations of the committee, yet the Liberals put in a dissenting opinion. They could have put in a supplementary opinion, but they put in a dissenting opinion, which said, “Under the ICA, the annual net benefit review thresholds are reviewed and revised by the Minister on an annual basis, rendering the proposed legislative amendments unnecessary.”
Since the parliamentary secretary represents the Prime Minister, I am wondering whether he is having second thoughts to the committee members or to the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, who did not address this, or whether the parliamentary secretary is freelancing by himself on this issue. I do not know which it is, but it will be interesting to sort that out because that is the reality of what has been presented to us today.
The reality is that the thresholds have been raised over a number of years and have created quite a concern among Canadians and businesses. They have been raised because of the iconic ones that we have lost, Falconbridge, Inco, a whole series that are name- and brand-recognizable firms. However, what has been presented, and what the previous speaker so eloquently discussed, is that there are smaller firms right now that go under the radar of the threshold and are gobbled up on a regular basis. In fact, there has been an exponential increase.
Part of the discussion we had at committee and part of the report is that, under COVID-19, a lot of vulnerable businesses could be purchased by non-democratic governments. I do not want to speak to just one particular country at the moment, but the reality is that some countries are using their public assets to purchase Canadian companies. With the COVID-19 issue related to the vulnerability of businesses, we have a lot of start-ups and medium-sized businesses that are very vulnerable to this.
This issue goes back quite some time, at least from my perspective. I first raised it at the industry committee with regard to non-democratic governments buying Canadian companies back in 2004. I had discussed it before, but we actually had hearings at that time. There was a headline in The Globe and Mail, “Chinese bid prompts MPs to eye revising investment act”. That was because of Noranda being purchased by China Minmetals.
At that time, I raised the question as to whether it is appropriate to have that type of investment, because it is a non-democratic government. It is not necessarily that it is China, but there are others as well. China decided to go on a purchasing spree after 2000 across the globe, and that included Canada. If we look at the sliding scale of purchases and investments, they are quite significant. That brings up a lot of questions about privacy and control of ownership of different types of assets, and, I would say, it has played itself out in terms of the housing market and speculative approaches that have had significant consequences for Canadians.
I pushed for it, and it came back in Parliament again in 2007. A Toronto Star article said, “Security may be factor in buyout review”. When I pushed for Industry Canada to look at this again, it was about looking at a national security clause in review, which has now been introduced as part of it, because a lot of companies were being purchased that were important to our national security.
This comes from my interest in it representing Windsor, Ontario where the manufacturing centre has been part of our DNA since our establishment as a community and as part of Canada. During the First and Second World War and recently, manufacturing has been part of our heritage. In fact, during the Second World War, we were very much a logistics centre for producing materials to fight fascism.
I have always viewed manufacturing as part of our national structure of defence and also our national importance of connecting people to jobs and meaningfulness and also self-determination. If we did not have that capability, we would not be able to do the things that we do today. Back at that time, it was maybe more raw materials and turning them into things that were used, versus today where there is lack of that vision.
I will always remember and I reference quite often the Prime Minister going to London, Ontario and saying that we actually had to transition out of manufacturing. That was pretty offensive because we do not need to just do rip and ship. One of the tragic things about our oil and gas industry is that we do not have enough refining capacity. I have seen Oakville, for example, lose Petro-Canada. I have seen several other refineries close down as opposed to being invested in, often because of the loss of Canadian control or they no longer became investment opportunities because of a lot of different issues. We lost the capability there.
We have lost some of the capability right now for our forestry industry, as we have a lot of our industry co-owned between Canada and the United States. There does not even have to be collusion, there can just be a disinterest in competing against ourselves and lowering market prices because there is no real interest to do so.
Canada has had some of our natural resources purchased. I mentioned the mining industry to be prioritized because it goes to foreign markets for value-added manufacturing that the Prime Minister wants us to transition out of. That is unfortunate because the value-added economy of manufacturing is important today in this new age for innovation.
When we are looking at solar, wind, alternative energy and also the innovation that is taking place, I often point to what is taking place in Detroit, basically two kilometres from where I am right now. It has billions of dollars going into new electric vehicles and manufacturing there and we do not have the same here. We have some piecemeal and some very important projects taking place that are exciting, but we do not have a national strategy and we do not have the same type of investment taking place. In fact, in Detroit there was over $12 billion of investment in the last number of years and for all of the Canada in the last five or six years, we were at around $6 billion, which is basically not in the game any more with respect to where we should be.
This report did get a response from the minister. There have been some modest improvements to the bill and there has been some strengthening related to national security review, but they did not make some of the bigger changes that we had asked for. I had done some work with Unite, a labour union in British Columbia. It represented a number of companies that had basically been taken over by the Chinese state. I will not get into the full details, but I am going to read this recommendation that has not been implemented:
That the government of Canada immediately introduce legislation amending the Investment Canada Act to allow for the establishment of a privacy protection review of and the ability to enforce Canadians’ privacy and digital rights in any ICA approved acquisition, merger, or investment.
That is the one that I want to talk about. The one that did get pushed through, which I am pleased about, also allows for divestment issues to take place and the minister did move on that. That is important.
I want to pivot because we are looking at some of our privacy laws right now and people need to be aware that we have a Privacy Commissioner in Canada. The United States does not have that; other places do not have privacy. Our privacy laws affect everything from our capability to be involved as a citizen and our own personal life, but also our businesses, and our ability to share information, to work collaboratively and to be connected in terms of mergers and so forth in a more modest way.
We have asked for this to be part of the actual law, because with those expectations we can keep data and information under a review process. I will give a specific example of the Canada census, which I had worked on, to show the vulnerabilities.
It is ironic, because the census is taking place right now, and I encourage everybody to sign up for it. My riding, for a lot of different reasons, has one of the lower rates of compliance, which needs to be improved. Often it is because of language, but there are other reasons as well. However, it is important to fill out the census for government supports and services, and a whole series of things.
At any rate, at the time, our census was actually outsourced to Lockheed Martin. It may sound bizarre to some people that an arms manufacturer would actually get hold of our Canada census, but it did. It had won the contract, and it did that in a number of places. However, because of the Patriot Act, it was going to assemble our data in the United States. It would have allowed all of our census information to be vulnerable to the Patriot Act.
The way the Patriot Act works in the United States is that we would not have control over our data. The U.S. can access that data and then the company that is actually giving it up through the act is not even allowed to report it to us. The act is a fallout from 9/11, when a series of laws were put in place.
The data was going to be moved from Canada, but we fought hard, and we were able to get the data to stay in Canada and actually be processed here, protecting the data from that.
Ironically, Lockheed Martin is no longer doing our census. It was one of those things where we outsourced to be “efficient”, but it turned out to be a loss, because we had to actually pay more money. On top of that, the company is no longer around, and we are back to where we started from, and so that shortcut did not work.
I really believe that there should be a privacy screen as part of takeovers. When we look at the complications that Facebook and other companies have had with some of the privacy breaches, even being held hostage, it is important to note that we are very vulnerable, but we still do not have laws to protect companies.
The University of Calgary had a security breach and actually paid money to have its privacy protected. We do not even have a sense of the entire situation right now, because a number of companies have compromised privacy. They make payouts and different types of restitution, but they do not have to make it public. Some of it does go public but some of it does not; it just depends upon the situation.
When we look at foreign takeovers and the Investment Canada Act, I would point to a few takeovers that have really affected people in their day-to-day lives.
My colleague raised Lowe's and Rona, and I thank him for that, but it is a great example of the consequences, because we have lost competition there. We basically had two competing companies that have been erased off the chessboard, so to speak. Now we are very vulnerable, and there is no motivation to compete. In fact, not only is there less competition, it has made housing more difficult, fixing up our properties more difficult and small businesses are more dependent upon one provider. It has had significant economic consequences.
I opposed that merger and appealed to the government to stop it, but the government refused. I think the parties signed a side agreement to maybe keep their headquarters here and that is about it. However, eventually the stores closed, and I cannot think of a worse situation that we have right now, because we are now dependent upon a one-source provider. We have lost those jobs, but more importantly, the competition.
Another example, which may seem less significant but true, is when Future Shop was taken over by Best Buy. Again, how did that benefit consumers? We lost another competitor, the Canadian franchise company of Future Shop, and for electronics, we are made very vulnerable to being one-source supplied. We have lost that competitive element.
One of the worst examples ever is Zellers being bought out by Target. Here we had Zellers making a profit during a time when chain retail was having difficulty. It had a union, wages just above minimum wage and benefits. Then Target came in, bought up Zellers and promptly shut the stores down in a failed operation. The jobs were lost, the workers lost their benefits, and we lost competition, and for nothing. We had a phony U.S. chain come in here and basically do a social experiment. We lost a significant part of our retail market economy. We have not recovered from that in many respects, because we do not have that type of competition any more.
I think about London, Ontario, where Caterpillar took over Electro-Motive. That was an important one, because those were good manufacturing jobs. That was about union busting and driving out competition.
One of the more iconic ones was when Stelco was taken over by U.S. Steel in Hamilton. We still are feeling the repercussions of that. We lost production capacity, which was an important part of our long-term history of manufacturing steel in the Hamilton region. An exceptional skilled-labour workforce was thrown out because U.S. Steel wanted to wind down operations.
I do not think we are going to continue having the type of situation we are seeing at the moment because of COVID. However, we have a lot of situations with smaller companies. There can be a better way.
I do not want this to be a negative speech because it is about raising awareness. There have been some wonderful cases where we have fought back and we have seen Canadian companies remain. I would point to the Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan. In 2004, the Australian company BHP Billiton was trying to take over the Potash Corporation. We fought that and were successful.
The second example I can think of is MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates and Canadian space and satellite technology. We were able to prevent some of that takeover, and some of that is Canadian innovation.
I want to touch on something that is often forgotten. When we look at some of the tax on research and development, and incentives such as SR&ED credits and a whole series of others, we have to remember that as we are building up some of these companies, and providing subsidies for them to do research and development, we should have an obligation to stay Canadian and so should they. That is one of the things that we have to recognize. When we are giving incentives, whether they are direct or indirect subsidies, there is an obligation and an investment by the Canadian public. Therefore, if we were going to have a so-called free-market economy, where we get government out of the way, we would not be doing tax credits or subsidies for a whole series of things. We choose them as a democracy and as an innovative society to make advancements. If we do not actually get the fruits of those investments, they do not make any sense at the end of the day.
We have talked a bit about thresholds, but we are not seeing the action that we need to. We have much more work to do on this, and so much awareness is necessary. It is a very complicated file, but there is no doubt that it is sometimes captured in some of the iconic companies in the bigger acquisitions that take place. Let us not forget the small and medium-sized businesses that fly under the radar and under the requirements for review, that we just get notifications that we are losing. That is a poor choice for a country, especially if we are trying to build up our small and medium-sized businesses. We need to protect those assets and develop them better.
I will conclude my speech by again thanking the staff and the analysts for all the work that went behind this report. I know that some have diminished the importance of this debate for different reasons in the House of Commons, but I appreciate it because it has been important. At least we have it on the record, and I know that the House of Commons worked really hard to present issues in front of the government and the minister, as food for thought and also for making a difference.
View Brian Masse Profile
NDP (ON)
View Brian Masse Profile
2021-05-10 20:30 [p.7009]
Mr. Speaker, I have had a chance to serve with my colleague a couple of times at committee and it has always been very positive. I am glad he raised this question. Although I did have it circled at one point, I did not mention it. The recommendation states:
That the Government of Canada immediately introduce legislation amending the Investment Canada Act to compel the Minister to consult with the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and the Canadian Security Establishment in the national security process.
The member brought up a really good point that this would mandate it and ensure that it would get done, as it has not always been done. He made an excellent point that it is about best practices and good practices, ensuring everything is thorough and consistent. The most important thing about the Investment Canada Act, especially when it comes under the scrutiny and fairness review, is that this consistency should be there. I know he had raised this and had been a champion of it. It has been a missed opportunity, because some of it gets done, but not all of it. It is not consistent. That would bring some solid resolution to even the challenge of a decision under the Investment Canada Act.
View Brian Masse Profile
NDP (ON)
View Brian Masse Profile
2021-05-10 20:33 [p.7010]
Mr. Speaker, that was exciting to hear. I did not realize that about Dave Keon. He was an awesome hockey player and goalie. People fear players like him.
That is a point well taken and it is interesting. The riding I represent had the Ford sit-down strike. The Rand Formula eventually came out of there and so forth. It is part of our DNA. I would like to thank the member for that. We can see by this discussion that there is a sense of pride that goes deeper with ownership, heritage and a connection to the community. I do not think we want to lose sight of that. A lot of people forget that about building our businesses. There is nothing wrong with showing that interest.
The unions and the people, the men and women working at a company, want it to do just as well. The issues around safety, fair compensation and so forth are there, but they want it to be successful and to wear the signature of their company with pride, just as much as anybody else.
View Brian Masse Profile
NDP (ON)
View Brian Masse Profile
2021-05-10 20:35 [p.7010]
Mr. Speaker, I thank that member for Abbotsford for his question. As a former minister, he has experience dealing internationally with a number of different matters.
What has changed significantly is the vulnerability in the financial capabilities of some companies right now. In some sectors, like the mould-makers sector I represent, companies would traditionally, if they had a hard time transitioning, find new ownership. If somebody was looking to retire or take the next step, their company might be sold outright. Now we have questions about companies that are doing well and building up but that do not have the equity to continue. They could be bought in a fire sale. That is the concern.
There has been a lot of support to try to deal with the solvency issues taking place, but at the same time, there are so many mid-range companies that could be vulnerable. It has taken so much work for them to build up, and the innovation that is taking place with some of them is incredible. We do not want to lose them, but that is taking place. Under COVID-19, they are even more vulnerable.
View Brian Masse Profile
NDP (ON)
View Brian Masse Profile
2021-05-10 20:37 [p.7010]
Mr. Speaker, the member is very correct, and that is the vulnerability we see in some of these companies.
Jim Balsillie talked about some of the vulnerable tech we have, as did a series of other witnesses. This is where we have some innovation and breakthroughs that are very unique, especially in the digital economy, which is still emerging. Canada is competing quite well in some aspects of it, but we are not giving the proper supports for it to expand. That is a whole other separate conversation, but we do have some exciting opportunities.
For example, I mentioned mould-makers earlier in this area. When we had trouble with the auto industry, we helped them diversify into aerospace, medical devices and a series of different things. We have some exciting companies and opportunities, but they are vulnerable right now and will be in the immediate future. That is where thresholds will not provide a proper review and a takeover is going to happen, fait accompli, and that is really against the public interest.
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