July 25, 1969

LIB

Raymond J. Perrault

Liberal

Mr. Perrault:

I asked the hon. member to tell the house who the premier of the province of Nova Scotia was when the Glace Bay project was implemented.

Topic:   MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT TO OCTOBER 22, 1969
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NDP

John Edward Broadbent

New Democratic Party

Mr. J. Edward Broadbent (Oshawa-Whil-by):

Mr. Speaker, being a mere backbencher of a minority party, after hearing the Prime Minister's (Mr. Trudeau) harangue today, I hesitate to get to my feet. The only consolation I have is that for some peculiar reason the Prime Minister gives more status to a mere nullity in the House of Commons than a member once he is outside this house. Once I leave this place and I am 50 yards down the street I am according to the Prime Minister a nonentity. Perhaps there is something in favour of being a nullity rather than a nonentity, at least by the Prime Minister's reasoning.

I found the entire speech of the Prime Minister extremely distasteful in tone, even if it contained a series of arguments which have to be taken seriously. Let me refer to one or two of the statements the Prime Minister made. He referred to the period of time we should adjourn for the summer. The tone of his argument in this respect was extremely, intellectually arrogant. His was the kind of argument one should not make during the normal discourse or conversation between civilized adults. Certainly, it should not have been made by the Prime Minister of a democratic country.

The attitude the Prime Minister took in respect of the leader of the Ralliement Credi-tiste (Mr. Caouette) was very reprehensible. It is one thing to disagree with an individual's ideas and say that in your judgment he is mistaken, but it is quite another thing to call that person a fool. I suggest that is exactly what the Prime Minister did today. This attitude, considering the whole history of democracy even back to the times of Athenian Greece, is extremely unpleasant. I hoped that the attitude of the right hon. gentleman

July 25, 1969 COMMONS

would change when he became Prime Minister. I hoped he would display a little more modesty and a little less of the assumption that he knows all the answers and other people are not likely to know them, especially the backbenchers of his party on mere members of the opposition. I believe that by his speech today he did a disservice to himself, both as an intellectual and as Prime Minister of this country. I shall not say anything more about his attitude because I want to deal with the substance of his speech before making my own comments.

[DOT] (3:30 p.m.)

As I understood it, the substance of the Prime Minister's argument was that the government needs a recess of three months in order to prepare legislation for next session. He cited other legislative bodies, namely, those of the provinces of Nova Scotia and Saskatchewan, which have in the past had extremely short sessions presumably, he argued, so that their cabinets would have time to prepare legislation. In one sense this is a good argument and should be considered seriously. My answer to it is twofold. One is that, as everyone knows, the sessions of provincial legislatures are becoming longer each year as the responsibilities of those governments become greater. The duration of the sessions of provincial legislatures is not becoming less but is in fact increasing. Therefore, one has to make a practical judgment about the length of time necessary to prepare legislation. The general trend is that the sessions of provincial legislatures are becoming longer.

The Prime Minister is entitled to make a judgment about the length of time this house is required to sit. On the other hand, we are entitled to make a judgment about the length of time required in this respect. Reference to the legislative experience of the provinces or other national governments is not directly relevant to the question. We have to consider the kind of legislation we want introduced in this country, and how much time should be allowed during the summer for its preparation.

The Prime Minister's argument seems to be that only during the summer months can the cabinet get together and work out its legislative program. I think this is ridiculous. Cabinet officials and civil servants work all year. What is true is that during a recess members of parliament are not in the House of Commons to raise serious questions and carry out

Motion to Adjourn House serious work on legislative committees. That argument was explicitly put forward by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Stanfield), the leader of my party and the leader of the Ralliement Creditiste. Their argument was that the government should be introducing legislation now. It has had, God knows, enough time to prepare legislation. It has had more than a year since the election in which to prepare meaningful legislation. We on this side of the house suggest that rather than taking another three months to dawdle and fiddle around, undertaking more studies, the government should be introducing legislation now. Members on both sides of the house should be dealing with meaningful legislation in our legislative committees.

Before I deal with what has not been done and what could be done if we returned to the house earlier than October 22, I wish to give a small amount of credit to the government for what it has done. During the past ten months we have passed two significant pieces of legislation, and two only. One was the languages bill and the other was the omnibus Criminal Code bill. In the main, both these bills were supported by all members of the house. They were old pieces of legislation in the sense that they were part of the Pearson program. I do not say that in criticism of the present government. The fact is that this is the only significant legislation with which we have dealt during the past ten months.

We have been dealing with legislation covering the kind of things in which the Prime Minister is interested. It is bound up with an area that I believe he takes seriously as a politician and as an intellectual. I refer to legislation dealing with civil liberties. The languages bill and the omnibus Criminal Code bill are very important because they bestow important rights on individual citizens. This is a subject to which the Prime Minister is committed because of his civil liberties orientation.

Since the 18th century all civilized people have had a commitment to civil liberties; there is nothing new about these principles. To some extent such legislation is new to this country, but it has been in existence in other countries for the last 200 years. The languages bill and the omnibus Criminal Code bill were necessary pieces of legislation, but I suggest they will benefit relatively few people. I do not say this to denigrate the legislation, but there are not millions of Canadians who are homosexuals; nor are there millions of Canadians who will be directly affected by

July 25, 1969

Motion to Adjourn House the official languages bill. Those pieces of legislation are important, but they do not affect very many people.

What does profoundly affect the citizens of this country and people all over the world is socio-economic legislation, that is, legislation aimed directly at improving the material well-being of the average income and poor people in society. We have not done a damned thing in that regard. There have been tentative approaches to serious legislation in this area. We all recognize that there is a housing crisis. Every serious Canadian has known that for the past five years there has been a housing problem. What has this so-called progressive Liberal government done about the housing crisis? It has introduced a little tidbit of legislation which will benefit only those people earning more than $8,000 a year. It has not done anything to assist the poor people in our cities. It has not done anything about slum clearance. It has done nothing to assist the average working man who lives, for example, in a city such as mine who although being a prosperous Canadian, relatively speaking, cannot buy a house because of the high interest rates that are in effect. The government has done nothing for housing except effect a marginal improvement for middle class people. So much for the progressive Liberal party and what it has done to solve the housing problem.

What about taxation? The great reformer, Prime Minister Trudeau, introduced one piece of legislation dealing with taxation. He instituted the 2 per cent social development tax which is one of the most reactionary pieces of legislation presented to the House of Commons. We have no capital gains tax. There has been no revision of the tax structure to assist those people with families and earning $4,000 a year or less. So much for what the government has done to assist the poor and the average income man in this country.

The government introduced a good bill dealing with regional poverty. But what happened? The government allocated a pittance of funds for the program, enough to buy a newspaper for every poor Canadian but not much more. So we have a good bill but no meaningful action in terms of allocation of money. Then, there is the wheat situation. I shall not spend any time discussing that problem because in the last few months hon. members of my party and those of the Conservative party have demonstrated what a

disastrous year farmers in the prairie provinces have had. Again, we have witnessed a very callous attitude on the part of the Prime Minister to the problem. No one is denying that the problem calls for a serious, long-range program. Statements have been made to wheat farmers, such as, "Look fellow; you will have to change your growing practices. It's too bad, but we don't sell your wheat". This is a callous attitude and should not be adopted towards any citizen of this country. It is one thing to say, "We must work out long-range programs", but quite another to say to a man, "You made a mistake; why don't you do something else, fellow?"

[DOT] (3:40 p.m.)

It is foolish and irresponsible to say to such a man: "You have $100,000 in capital equipment so you are not poor". It is absurd, when everyone knows that he can do nothing with that capital equipment. Who is going to buy it? Are there many people in my city or a city in the east likely to move west to buy one of those farms? Of course not! These statements seem to me to suggest an absence of constructive policies on the part of the government as well as a callous attitude.

One other item about which something should be done within the next couple of months is an increase in the pensions of the thousands of veterans in this country. The Woods report has been waiting around for many months now, a report upon which the government has decided not to act. Even some backbenchers in the Liberal party have said that this report should have been sent to an appropriate committee a long time ago and that action should have been taken on it. But this has not happened.

These are the five areas in which the government has either done nothing or has done something to benefit only those who are already well off. It seems to me inconceivable that people on the other side of the house should not see their government for what it is. It is the most conservative government we have had in Canada in 15 years. Any serious political scientist or economist describing the regime we now have would reach that conclusion, I am sure.

It seems to me that we are adjourning much too soon or, if we are to adjourn now we should come back in two months time. If the government is interested in something

July 25, 1969 COMMONS

other than civil liberties, which are important, if it is interested in dealing with regional poverty, not only in the maritime provinces but also in the heart of our major cities in the so-called prosperous provinces of Ontario and British Columbia, if it wants to redistribute income, if it wants to help pensioners, whether they be veterans or simply our elderly citizens, then why do they not wish to come back here sooner, by the middle of September? This course would enable us to get on with some serious social and economic legislation which would provide substantial benefits for the average and poor Canadians?

Topic:   MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT TO OCTOBER 22, 1969
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PC

James Aloysius McGrath

Progressive Conservative

Mr. James A. McGrath (St. John's East):

As

a member of this house representing one of the regionally dispossessed areas of Canada I am astonished, as I am sure the people I represent will be, that this parliament is on the verge of adjourning for three months when there are so many serious problems facing the country. We have been through a very critical session and, as has been said by many members who have participated in the debate on the rules, a very productive session. It is true that parliament will never be the same, but surely that is not to suggest that parliament no longer has a role to play.

I sat here today and listened with amazement to the speech of the Prime Minister (Mr. Trudeau) when, as is often the case, he misconstrued our motives and indeed tried to impute motives. I could not believe my ears when I heard him say that perhaps one of the reasons we were opposing a long adjournment of three months was that we had some doubts about our status when we leave this place. Indeed, the Prime Minister suggested that we would no longer enjoy the distinction of being hon. members when this place adjourns.

In my view, this is indicative of the contempt in which the Prime Minister holds parliament, the utter contempt with which he has treated parliament, because the role of a member of parliament is a long and well established one. There are ample quotations on the record and authorities on this subject. Our responsibilities as members of parliament or as 264 ombudsmen are continuing responsibilities whether or not this house sits. Indeed, we are going to have even more responsibilities during this recess trying to justify to our constituents and to the Canadian people why, in the light of so many serious problems facing Canada, we allow ourselves to take a three months' recess.

Motion to Adjourn House

The Prime Minister and the government house leader have had their way. We saw them last night as they appeared in the house, complete with white carnations, showing their utter disdain, which has been so characteristic, behaving like two bank robbers who apologize for having shot the teller because they had to get the money. They got their way. What they have done to parliament in the process only time will tell. Today, we witnessed the spectacle of the Prime Minister losing his cool, a quality which has come to be so characteristic of him. Indeed, we saw him representing himself as a great man, a great devotee of General de Gaulle whom he maligned in this house just a short time ago. But now it becomes fashionable for the Prime Minister, who loosely tosses out charges about hypocritical speeches and stupid filibusters, to behave in such a way as to leave himself open to this very type of accusation.

Perhaps it can be said of him that if he gets his way in this instance he will behave like a latter day Nero who is content to fiddle while Rome bums, because while parliament stands adjourned for three months not only do the serious problems facing this nation continue but they continue to escalate without solution. These problems will continue without reference to hon. members of this house who, whether or not the Prime Minister accepts the fact, have the responsibility of continuing to represent their constituents and to protect the national interest in the best way they can. How can I go back to my unemployed constituents and say I have three months off? They will look at me and say: We have 12 months off, the only difference is that you are getting $18,000 a year for it whereas in our case our unemployment insurance benefit expired long ago. We are relegated to having to get on our hands and knees, swallow our pride and beg for welfare from the state. What can I say to them? They are underhoused; in many instances they are under-nourished because of a lack of a proper diet, and they are over-governed. They have no opportunities and they are suffering the consequences of 20 years of unrestricted Liberal dictatorship as well as the type of arrogance that we saw manifested in this house in the last few days.

In the final analysis, these are the people who have to suffer the consequences of the arrogance of a government that has gone mad with power. I should like the Prime Minister to go to Newfoundland or to the Atlantic provinces and talk to the people who are regionally dispossessed, and who suffer the

July 25. 1969

Motion to Adjourn House consequences of regional disparity through no fault of their own.

[DOT] (3:50 p.m.)

We are moderate people in the Atlantic provinces. We are reasonable people. But how much are reasonable people expected to put up with? Poverty continues to be a major problem in this country though the government continues to ignore it. Our people continue to suffer the consequences of spiralling inflation, of high interest rates, of the lack of adequate housing, of the lack of ability to buy suitable houses, of the lack of public housing. They are beginning to realize the serious consequences of pollution and the failure of the Government of Canada to meet its responsibilities in this direction. They know from personal experience what the rising cost of living means. The working people of this country and those living on fixed incomes not only in the region from which I come but from across Canada, in the cities and on the farms from coast to coast, know the consequences of the monthly increases in the cost of living index because they experience them on a day to day basis as they go to the store to buy provisions for their families. Can you blame them for thinking: surely, the government must be able to come to grips with these serious problems over which we have no control.

We have a government which is determined to operate in a parliament whose members have been relegated to a position of rubber stamps. Perhaps this is the reason the government insists on proceeding with its plan for a three month adjournment. Under the new rules, perhaps we can get up and make a few speeches but we shall no longer be able to directly influence measures which will be brought forward for enactment. We have already given up our traditional, ancient right to withhold supply to the government. It was a sad day, Mr. Speaker, when that right left us. But at least we gave it up voluntarily. We gave up some of our debating days, too. We gave these things up because we wanted to co-operate with the government in a spirit of goodwill. We wanted to co-operate with the government because at that time we had no reason to suspect that its intentions were anything but honourable. Now, this government stands indicted by its own action.

Sure, we can come back in September and meet in committees. If the committees are anything like the committees were this session, conducted by partisan chairmen and

controlled by a government which only accepts reports with which it agrees, this exercise could easily and usefully be dispensed with. Parliament should be asked to come back in September, at least, to discuss even on the basis of the limited power we now have, the serious problems facing the country.

The Atlantic provinces are passing through a crisis unparalleled in the history of confederation. The province from which I come is on the verge of a serious financial crisis. It is a well established fact that the same applies in the province of New Brunswick and in the province of Prince Edward Island. What is this government doing? It suggests parliament should take a three month recess and expects us to go back to our constituencies and defend this action. Members opposite may laugh and jeer because they got their way in this instance but I hope that when they have to face the unemployed, the badly housed and the poor in their constituencies they can find a good explanation for adjourning for three months. If they do, perhaps they will let us in on it, because I do not know what I shall say to the people I represent. What can I say to them? Nothing has been done by the government so far. They have been retrogressive steps. We see fish plants closing all over the place. We see advantages we have enjoyed in the past taken from us. We have lost the salt rebate. The fisheries are in a crisis. Yet the government sits by and does nothing. Perhaps the government wants parliament to adjourn for three months in order that it can prepare the country psychologically for what tQ expect-

Topic:   MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT TO OCTOBER 22, 1969
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IND

Lucien Lamoureux (Speaker of the House of Commons)

Independent

Mr. Speaker:

I have to interrupt the hon. member. It being four o'clock the house will now proceed to the consideration of private members' business, namely, private bills.

Topic:   MOTION FOR ADJOURNMENT TO OCTOBER 22, 1969
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PRIVATE BILLS

LONDON AND MIDLAND GENERAL INSURANCE COMPANY


The house resumed from Thursday, March 13, consideration in committee of Bill No. C-101, respecting London and Midland General Insurance Company-Mr. Lind-Mr. Faulkner in the chair.


LIB

James Hugh Faulkner (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

The Chairman:

When the committee rose on Thursday, March 13, clause 1 of the bill was under consideration.

July 25, 1969

On clause 1-Change of name.

Topic:   PRIVATE BILLS
Subtopic:   LONDON AND MIDLAND GENERAL INSURANCE COMPANY
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LIB

James (Jim) Gordon Lind

Liberal

Mr. Lind:

Mr. Chairman, this is a bill to change the name of the company concerned from London and Midland General Insurance Company to Avco General Insurance Company. The company does not desire to change its capitalization nor to make any corporate change other than the change in title.

I urge hon. members to accept the bill before us. The company has been doing business in Canada for a number of years, operating not only in Ontario but across Canada and it has rendered good service to Canadians. A few years ago the company was purchased by the Avco Delta Corporation. All the bill seeks to do is to change the name of the company from London and Midland General Insurance Company to Avco General Insurance Company.

[DOT] (4:00 p.m.)

Topic:   PRIVATE BILLS
Subtopic:   LONDON AND MIDLAND GENERAL INSURANCE COMPANY
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NDP

Frank Howard

New Democratic Party

Mr. Howard (Skeena):

Mr. Chairman, something much more fundamental is involved in this bill than the mere purpose stated by the sponsor. True, on the surface, the intent is to change the name of the company. But what is of much more fundamental importance, something that has been explored on many occasions in the house, is the extent to which parliament is being asked to give formal endorsation to the concept of further inroads made by foreign capital into the Canadian economy, and whether it is desirable to accede to such request.

London and Midland General Insurance Company is not a simple, uncomplicated company with a Canadian structure, as the name would lead us to believe. It is a company that is involved in as large an international or multi-national corporate entity as exists anywhere, especially in the finance or insurance field.

When this bill was first considered before the committee, a Mr. David Alexandor, the parliamentary agent for the company, gave certain evidence. I should like to refer to that evidence to indicate the intricate involvement of London and Midland General Insurance Company in the finance and insurance world.

Mr. Alexandor initially explained, as did the sponsor of the bill, what appears on the surface of the bill to be its purpose. Then, he went on to make reference to Delta Acceptance Corporation, indicating that it was incorporated as a public company under the laws of Ontario on March 26, 1954. Then, in July 1962 Delta Acceptance Corporation Limited acquired all the outstanding share

Private Bills

capital of London and Midland General Insurance Company. In other words, since 1962 London and Midland General Insurance Company ceased to be a Canadian company in the full sense of the word, and in fact became a wholly owned subsidiary of Delta Acceptance Corporation. Delta Acceptance Corporation subsequently changed its name to Avco Delta Corporation Canada Limited.

Perhaps, it would be worth while to set out, as did Mr. Alexandor, the extensions that Avco Delta Corporation has in the insurance, finance and other fields, in order to indicate we are not dealing here simply with a proposal to change a name. Perhaps I should read from the text what Mr. Alexandor said:

In addition to London and Midland General Insurance Company the following companies are also subsidiaries of Avco Delta Corporation Canada Limited. Avco C.F.C. Limited which was formerly C.F.C. Finance Corporation Limited, Avco Delta Dominion Limited which was formerly Delta Acceptance Canada Limited, Avco Delta Quebec Limited, which was formerly called D.A.C. (Quebec) Ltd., Avco Finance Limited, which was formerly The Crescent Finance Corporation Limited, Avco Highland Plan Limited, which was formerly called Highland Trial Plan Limited, Avco Delta Realty Limited, which was formerly Grand Prairie Investments Limited, Adanac General Insurance Company of Canada, Avco Delta Realty, Manitoba, Limited, which was formerly called the North West Mortgage and Finance Company Limited, Consolidated Finance Western Limited, Empire Acceptance Corporation Limited, General Finance Company Limited, Lorne-Bruce Motors Limited and Waverly Finance Company Limited.

The latter company, Waverly Finance Company Limited, wishes, or at least wished at the time of the committee hearings, to make an application to change its name to Avco Security Canada Limited. Adanac General Insurance Company, which we are told by Mr. Alexandor conducts a very limited operation, will be wound up in a short time.

Then, Mr. Alexandor goes on to indicate further involvement of the other companies. He says:

Four out of the last five companies named which were Consolidated Finance Western Limited, Empire Acceptance Corporation Limited, General Finance Company Limited and Lorne-Bruce Motors Limited are non-operating and it is intended to wind most of them up in the near future pending, for example, the distribution of a designated surplus, the maturing of debentures and the transferring of any old business still remaining. One or two of these companies are just corporate shells. Therefore, in effect, there are ten companies in this group which are operating at this time. All of these ten operating companies bear the name "Avco" in their corporate name except for Adanac General Insurance Company of Canada and London and Midland General Insurance Company.

July 25, 1969

Private Bills

I would like to point out that prior to the change of name of Delta Acceptance Corporation Limited to Avco Delta Corporation Canada Limited that Company became an almost wholly owned subsidiary of Avco Delta Corporation which is a Delaware company. This occurred in 1984. In turn, Avco Delta Corporation is a wholly owned subsidiary of Avco Corporation of New York. There is one other Canadian company using the name "Avco" which is not a subsidiary of what we call the parent company,-

Then, Mr. Alexandor goes into more detail. From that recitation of the company's corporate involvement we see very clearly that the purpose of changing the name of the company from London and Midland General Insurance Company is to tie the company more closely in a psychological way to the massive Avco Delta finance structure. In other words, the present name of the company is detrimental to Avco Delta, which seeks not only the continuation of the subsidiary position of what was at one time a Canadian company, but in addition to that to give the company the stamp of Avco's own corporate international or multi-national structure.

[DOT] (4:10 p.m.)

This brings us to the question of government policy as it relates to foreign ownership in the field of finance, in the field of insurance and to Canadian economic activity in general. London and Midland General Insurance Company is simply one facet of it. There has been ample dialogue in the country, ample discourse of ideas and ample expression by many people in Canada, about the necessity of taking some steps to halt and eventually reverse the trend toward a greater and greater domination of our Canadian economy by foreign interests. We all know that while foreign ownership presumably carries with it certain benefits, mainly the benefit of investment money in the nation, it also carries with it a far greater number of detrimental effects.

One of these is the siphoning out of the country by way of dividends part of our national wealth expressed in terms of dollars. Another awkward feature is the tendency of these multi-national foreign companies resident in another nation to concentrate a great part of their research activities and the like in the structure of the company in the foreign country. In other words, they disregard the Canadian section of their activities in so far as research, engineering and other matters are concerned. This is detrimental to us.

[Mr. Howard (Skeena).l

There is a tendency to do a certain amount of the total administrative research and engineering work in the parent company. There is also a tendency to offer an inducement to Canadians to leave Canada and work in the head office of the parent company in the United States. This trend is also detrimental to Canada.

There is a tendency for the parent company, and this has happened on a number of occasions, to make decisions about what it will do economically based on the political and economic considerations in the foreign country rather than on the necessities that may exist in Canada. In other words, as has been shown in a number of instances, not in the finance field but in the manufacturing field, the decisions of the United States Congress, the laws of which are applicable to resident companies within the United States, have extra territorial effect and are detrimental to Canadian interests.

The more we sell out our economic interests to foreign capital, the more we sell out the possibility that we ourselves can use our national resources and our own wealth for the greatest possible advantage of Canada. There has been ample public conversation and discussion about this. The Prime Minister (Mr. Trudeau), apropos of what he said this afternoon, does not really need any great period of time for an interchange of ideas in the cabinet. He does not need a lot of cabinet committees to understand and appreciate the difficulties attendant upon Canada in so far as foregoing ownership in concerned.

We had a very extensive royal commission to examine all these prospects, the report of which was made and subsequently hidden in some recesses of a government office. The government has had an opportunity to do something about this. In so far as the insurance industry is concerned, representatives of the Canadian government told the insurance industry in a private way, not in public conversation, not to worry about the objections being raised in Canada about the incorporation of foreign insurance companies. The government would take steps to protect the interests of foreign investors in Canada.

Representatives of the insurance companies went home contented and happy, knowing they were going to receive that protection. They knew they would no longer have to explain their activities by way of the private bill process in parliament. They knew they would no longer have to come before a public body, such as the standing committee, to ex-

July 25. 1969

plain what they wanted to do. The Canadian government told the insurance and finance industries in the United States, because that is where most of the owners are, not to worry and fret because their interests would be protected.

The government lived up to its word. It sold out Canadian interests and introduced bills in order to carry out that commitment. There are a number of pieces of legislation on the order paper designed to amend the Canada Corporations Act, The Foreign Insurance Companies Act, the Loan Companies Act, the Trust Companies Act and the Canadian British Insurance Companies Act. A reading of those companion pieces of legislation shows that the government has not considered the views of Canadians about foreign ownership and the detrimental effects of it. It has considered the vested interests of the foreign corporations and has come down four-square on the side of foreign domination of our industry.

These bills are certainly not having any trouble in the other place, with all the boards of directors endorsing everything that is protective of foreign investment. If those bills subsequently become law, it will mean companies like the Avco Delta Corporation, Seaboard Finance-which has appeared before parliament and has not a very good relationship with its borrowers-and other similar companies who have a large chunk of the Canadian economy in their grasp will be able to walk into the office of the Minister of Consumer and Corporate Affairs (Mr. Basford) and offer him whatever is necessary to obtain a charter. They may get a change of name, an alteration in their capital structure or a stock-spilling arrangement. Such companies will be able to obtain whatever alteration they need with the complete sanctions and blessing of the Canadian government. All this will be done in the close confines of the minister's office.

These companies will no longer have to come before the Canadian public, the standing committees of the House of Commons, to explain why they want the particular changes, why they want to split their stock. They will be able to engage in all sorts of relatively underhanded corporate activities to preserve their own position and increase the ownership they have of the Canadian economy. The government studied the matter carefully, weighed the interests of the foreign owners of the United States corporate entity against the interests of Canadians, opted for

Private Bills

the foreign owners in the United States and disregarded the interests of the Canadian public. This is a preposterous insult emanating from the government of Canada. The Prime Minister and the Minister of Consumer and Corporate Affairs have talked publicly about the value of Canadian companies. They talk publicly about the necessity to protect our whole national economy and the various interests of Canadians, but privately, quietly and secretly they act in the opposite way. This, of course, is typical not only of this government but of previous governments which have been stamped with the same label, namely that of being two-faoed about most matters; they say one thing and do another.

[DOT] (4:20 p.m.)

Topic:   PRIVATE BILLS
Subtopic:   LONDON AND MIDLAND GENERAL INSURANCE COMPANY
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LIB

James Hugh Faulkner (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

The Chairman:

Order, please. I am sorry to interrupt the hon. member but his time has expired.

Topic:   PRIVATE BILLS
Subtopic:   LONDON AND MIDLAND GENERAL INSURANCE COMPANY
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NDP

Thomas Speakman Barnett

New Democratic Party

Mr. Barnett:

Mr. Chairman, it had occurred to me that members of the house at this hour on Friday afternoon, rather than listen to me talk, might prefer to observe a period of 20 minutes' silence to reflect upon the body blow that was delivered in this house to the freedom and rights of members of this parliament. But, on reflection I was afraid the Chair might say such a silence would not be relevant to the subject matter of the bill which is now before us. I did think of another alternative. I thought that perhaps the 20 minutes' silence might be used to observe the symbolic death of what I understand was once a genuine Canadian company and which, according to the sponsor of the bill, enjoyed the respect and confidence of the community in which it originated. I am not sure whether the hon. member sponsoring the bill would be prepared to agree that that is the kind of observance he would want, inasmuch as he is prepared to sponsor a bill of this nature in this house.

This is the first time I have spoken on the subject matter of Bill C-101. When I read through its provisions, it seemed to me I was meeting once again an old friend or old enemy whichever way one might prefer to describe it, because there was a similarity to certain other bills which were before us in previous parliaments. The explanatory note is very similar. It states that the sole purpose of the bill is to change the name of the company to Avco Insurance Company from London and Midland General Insurance Company. This may seem to be a very simple and

July 25. 1969

Private Bills

innocuous proposal to which there should be little dissent. However, I believe it is necessary that we give some detailed attention to what is being asked by the bill. The hon. member for Skeena (Mr. Howard) gave us some of the details in respect of the proposed new Avco Insurance Company. Under its present name this company is involved in what is known as the Avco group.

When this matter was before the Standing Committee on Finance, Trade and Economic Affairs, the hon. member for Calgary North (Mr. Woolliams) asked the obvious question. He asked what does Avco stand for. The witness before the committee replied that it is an abbreviation of the names of aviation companies, and through the years has dwindled down to Avco. I suggest that while the name may have dwindled down, the activities of the corporation have not dwindled down. Indeed, the company would appear to have enlarged to the proportion of a giant octopus. The president of the London and Midland General Insurance Company said that the parent company in New York has become something along the lines of what might be called a conglomerate, involved in such things as aeroplane parts and extensive research and development, including the mechanical heart.

One can see, Mr. Chairman, that what is now the London and Midland General Insurance Company is something which is quite large indeed, and that the funds gathered through the corporate side may be directed into a great many different fields including indeed, if I may say so, what is sometimes referred to as the military industrial complex in the United States of America. I suppose one might develop a line of reasoning which would indicate that through this kind of mechanism the people who buy insurance through this company are directly or indirectly assisting in the financing of the United States war effort in Viet Nam. So, Mr. Chairman, it is not very difficult to indicate to the house that when the explanatory note says the sole purpose of this bill is to change the name, it is not as simple as that.

It may be true that the passage of this particular bill will not greatly affect the corporate structure of the company, but I submit that members of the house must give consideration to the fact that if they lend their assent to this proposal they are in effect putting their stamp of approval on something which I suppose, for practical purposes, has already taken place, namely the drawing into the United States conglomerate of some of the financial institutions of Canada.

This bill was under consideration by the committee of the whole on March 13 last. Not having participated in the debate on that occasion, I have looked at some of the remarks which were made during that particular part of the consideration of the bill. I notice that the hon. member for Vancouver Quadra (Mr. Deachman) saw fit to intervene in the debate. I shall read, in part at least, the remarks he made. On examination of those remarks, I have concluded that the hon. member for Vancouver Quadra is almost as adept at turning the truth upside down as the Prime Minister, who demonstrated his capabilities during the discussions that have taken place in this house in the last couple of days.

[DOT] (4:30 p.m.)

I thought I might make one or two comments about the arguments presented on that occasion by that hon. member. He said:

No one can argue this case better than do the hon. members who, throughout their history in the House of Commons, have been confined to the far left hand corner of the house-

I should like to correct the hon. member's statement. There was an occasion when we sat in the far right hand corner of the house and he and his colleagues were sitting on this side of the chamber. I realize that may not be significant or relevant to the argument the hon. member has advanced, but I am sure he would not want that inaccuracy to remain unnoted.

The hon. member for Vancouver Quadra was talking about Canadian companies. In reference to our theories about the desirability of having foreign ownership and investment in Canada, he said, as reported at page 6589 of Hansard for March 13:

-hon. gentlemen opposite, who have held up these bills, have constantly argued that foreign capital militates against the progress of the Canadian economy and Industry. We do not believe that on this side of the house.

The hon. member for Timiskaming (Mr. Peters) is recorded as having said at that point:

That is not true.

The manner in which the hon. member for Vancouver Quadra was presenting the argument indicates that the hon. member for Timiskaming was quite correct on that occasion. The argument presented by the hon. member for Vancouver Quadra obviously had nothing to do with the subject matter of this

[Mr. Bamett.1

July 25, 1969

bill, because the nature of his remarks indicate that he was talking about the kind of company which puts investment into natural resources in Canada and brings about industrial development.

This is a subject matter on which various people in Canada have differing views at this time. I agree that the hon. member was correct in that regard. This is an important question, but it is not the question which was being discussed in relation to this bill. It is quite apparent that this bill has to do with a financial institution, the function of which is to gather the funds of the Canadian people into a pool. Our submission is that this is an area of debate very different from that being pursued by the hon. member for Vancouver Quadra. The argument which applied in one connection did not necessarily apply to the other.

I am one who believes we have been very foolish in the manner in which we have allowed industrial development and exploitation of natural resources to take place in this country. We have allowed foreign companies to gain control through the investment of a very small amount of equity capital and, in many cases, allowed that control when the actual capital investment has been raised from Canadian sources in non-equity form. This process should be reversed. As I have sometimes said, if we had taken a leaf from the book of the United States in the way it has drawn foreign capital, we would be in a much more sound position than we are today. Unless I am very much misinformed, the United States drew in large blocs of investment capital from abroad-in a large part from the United Kingdom-and most of that capital inflow was in the form of borrowed funds which the United States paid back with interest.

What we have in this bill is something completely different. In fact, what we are acquiescing to is the idea of a United States company being able to gain control of a Canadian financial institution and, through that mechanism, invest Canadian funds wherever it sees fit. I submit this makes the argument advanced on March 13 by the hon. member for Vancouver Quadra completely irrelevant to the subject matter of the bill. I say that while emphasizing again that his remarks on that occasion were completely inaccurate in portraying the position he alleges we in this party have taken.

The whole question involved in some of the debates that have taken place during this particular procedure has a significance which is

Private Bills

much greater than the subject matter of the particular bill we are discussing today, or the subject matter of some of the similar bills we have had under discussion in this and preceding parliaments. I think it has been made clear time and time again by some of us who have spoken-some might say at length and some would say at great and undue length- that the bill represents an opportunity to attempt to draw the attention of the government to what we consider to be a very serious trend in our society. This trend is going to militate seriously against the future economic viability of the Canadian economy.

We have been adopting this course not because we have any particular vendetta against this particular company, or against its United States parent corporation, but rather because we feel we should draw the situation to the attention of that country. We feel that we should control our own economic and political destiny. It is for that reason I do not want to see this bill passed. I feel that somewhere along the line some Canadians ought to take a stand to reverse this trend which has been so apparent in recent years in Canada, and one which has been accelerating more and more. This trend is not new.

I believe I am right when I recall that the first essay I wrote as a first year university student was entitled "The Americanization of Canadian Life". I do not mind admitting to hon. members that I was a member of the arts class of 1931 at the University of British Columbia. As a young university student, I had some concern about what was happening in Canadian life and to the Canadian economy. That concern is something which has been with me through all the years since then, a concern about which I have become increasingly aware during the time I have been a member of the Canadian House of Commons.

I must say that most of the arguments which have been advanced by those of us who have spoken during these debates on this bill, and others like it, appear to have been falling on deaf ears in this house. There certainly does not appear to be recognition by the Canadian government of the fact that steps should be taken to prevent us from having to deal with situations such as the one alluded to in this particular bill.

[DOT] (4:40 p.m.)

Topic:   PRIVATE BILLS
Subtopic:   LONDON AND MIDLAND GENERAL INSURANCE COMPANY
Permalink
LIB

James Hugh Faulkner (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

The Chairman:

Order, please. I am sorry to interrupt the hon. member, but his time has expired.

"662 COMMONS DEBATES July 25, 1969

Adjournment of the House

Topic:   PRIVATE BILLS
Subtopic:   LONDON AND MIDLAND GENERAL INSURANCE COMPANY
Permalink
LIB

Donald Stovel Macdonald (President of the Privy Council; Leader of the Government in the House of Commons; Liberal Party House Leader)

Liberal

Mr. Macdonald (Rosedale):

Mr. Chairman, I wonder whether the committee would be agreeable to rising and reporting progress. I think there might be a possibility of disposing of the business that was before the house earlier today.

Topic:   PRIVATE BILLS
Subtopic:   LONDON AND MIDLAND GENERAL INSURANCE COMPANY
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LIB

James Hugh Faulkner (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

The Chairman:

Mr. Macdonald (Rosedale) moves that I rise and report progress.

Topic:   PRIVATE BILLS
Subtopic:   LONDON AND MIDLAND GENERAL INSURANCE COMPANY
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NDP

William Arnold Peters

New Democratic Party

Mr. Peters:

Mr. Chairman, the President of the Privy Council can move that motion if he wishes. There would not be unanimous agreement otherwise.

Topic:   PRIVATE BILLS
Subtopic:   LONDON AND MIDLAND GENERAL INSURANCE COMPANY
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LIB

James Hugh Faulkner (Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees of the Whole of the House of Commons)

Liberal

The Chairman:

Mr. Macdonald (Rosedale) moves that I rise, report progress and request leave to sit again at the next sitting of the house. Is it the pleasure of the committee to adopt the said motion?

Topic:   PRIVATE BILLS
Subtopic:   LONDON AND MIDLAND GENERAL INSURANCE COMPANY
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?

Some hon. Members:

Agreed.

Progress reported.

Topic:   PRIVATE BILLS
Subtopic:   LONDON AND MIDLAND GENERAL INSURANCE COMPANY
Permalink

ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS


ADJOURNMENT TO OCTOBER 22, 1969 Hon. Donald S. Macdonald (President of the Privy Council): Mr. Speaker, could we have the consent of the house to revert to motions for the purpose of calling the amendment and also my motion, which were under consideration earlier today? I think there might be disposition to dispose of them at this time.


July 25, 1969