Mr. Speaker, I think there is something providential in all events that take place in the world, and the fact that we are here today is obviously one of those events. I agree with NDP members that the amendments contained in motions Nos. 6, 7, 8 and 9 would tend to reduce the strength of the bill. They would raise the presumption of non-eligibility from 5 per cent to 10 per cent. That change is in motion No. 6. They would also increase the presumption of acquisition from 5 per.cent to 10 per cent and from 20 per cent to 40 per cent in respect of a private company. They would also raise the floor of automatic exemptions from screening from 5 per cent to 10 per cent, and from 20 per cent to 40 per cent in the case of private companies. So the position, of course, would obviously be to make it easier to avoid or circumvent in some way the operation of this bill, and consequently weaken it.
A question was raised concerning why these presumptions and the "floor" for acquisition were placed at the levels at which they were placed. We are asked how we justify these figures. I admit there is some arbitrariness in this, but generally speaking the purpose is to prevent acquisition of control of good Canadian companies, many of them important, with a very low level of non-eligible investment without even the possibility of screening these acquisitions of control. There are differences in the opinion of the experts. My hon. friend from Edmonton West has his experts who appear to be saying, if he quotes them correctly, that these levels are much too low. Others say they are already too high. There is a strong body of learned opinion which suggests that 5 per cent ownership of the voting rights of a public company, in some circumstances and in some instances, could constitute control. In cases where this is not so it would be easy enough to discharge the presumption, either by showing the minister that control does not lie with the person presumed to be involved or that the acquisition of 5 per cent by a person does not constitute acquisition or control. This is the very purpose of presumptions. I have said it so often that I am a little bored repeating it.
July 4, 1972
Subtopic: FOREIGN TAKEOVERS REVIEW ACT
Sub-subtopic: MEASURE TO CONTROL FOREIGN TAKEOVERS OF CANADIAN COMPANIES