Mr. Robert McCleave (Halifax-East Hants):
Mr. Speaker, the House is in such an agreeable mood tonight that I hoped that by staying away these very worth-while amendments would pass with little or no discussion, thus adding greatly to the commercial law of the country. However, speaking more seriously, they are here to clear up what may be defects in the present bill. I am not saying that there are defects in this line in the present legislation, but after consultation with lawyers who are much more learned in this matter and have much more experience than I ever could have, I have decided that these amendments should be presented for consideration of the House and, more particularly, in the hope that the minister and his advisers would agree to them.
Perhaps the main purpose of the amendments is to make sure that this legislation not only encourages Canadian ownership of Canadian enterprises but encourages also the use of Canadian-made goods. The anomaly that I think I spotted in this legislation is that there is uncertainty about the leasing business and it might very well pay in large transactions to use American-made chattels rather than Canadian-made chattels. If this were so, and I think it could be so, then we would be defeating the purpose of this legislation.
I think we should not only look at the legislation from the standpoint of encouraging ownership of Canadian operations by Canadians, but also we should encourage if
possible the greater manufacture of goods within Canada rather than their importation from abroad. Yet, unless one of these amendments passes, I suggest that companies may find that it is much more advantageous to go abroad to buy such products as large sawmills, jets or the like- the cost of which falls within the figures set forth in this legislation-than to buy them in Canada.
Another purpose of the amendment is to ensure that when businesses are to be financed it is possible to make the loan in the first place without falling in the ambit of this legislation. There have been some exceptions made already, thanks to representations made in the committee, but I think I carried it a logical step further.
The two purposes of the amendments are, first, to solve the problem which would prevent non-eligible companies from providing financial services for Canadian business- and this would involve hundreds of millions of dollars worth of transactions, so we are not exactly dealing with peanuts-and, second, to make it unnecessary for non-eligible Canadian companies to do their major leasing abroad. So it is in the spirit of helpfulness, of trying to make the law as crystal clear as possible, that both these amendments are offered. I hope they will, therefore, find favour with the House.
I understand, also, that discussions have been going on between certain people who are familiar with this type of law and the minister's officials. This makes me perhaps a little more confident that the point I am making is a rather valid one. If the minister wanted more time to study these amendments, and if he cannot accept them now, I hope he will agree that they be stood until just before the votes on these matters.
As I say, it is in the spirit of trying to make the law crystal clear, and seeing that Canadian made goods to the value of a third of a million dollars are encouraged, rather than importation of goods of that amount from abroad, that I have proposed these amendments this evening.
Subtopic: FOREIGN TAKEOVERS REVIEW ACT
Sub-subtopic: MEASURE TO CONTROL FOREIGN TAKEOVERS OF CANADIAN COMPANIES