May 16, 1985

GOVERNMENT ORDERS

BUSINESS OF SUPPLY

LIB

Lloyd Axworthy

Liberal

Hon. Lloyd Axworthy (Winnipeg-Fort Garry) moved:

That this House condemns the Government not only for its failure to protect Canada from potential problems of foreign direct investment as demonstrated by the Government's failure to take effective action in dealing with foreign takeovers in the cases of Mitel and of the book publishing industry, but also for its contempt for the parliamentary process by cutting off free debate on its iniquitous investment legislation without providing adequate time for consideration of dozens of important and constructive amendments.

He said: Mr. Speaker, we are now in our sixth straight day of Opposition motions and resolutions. This has to be one of the most incredible and unorthodox situations with which Parliament has been faced in decades. What it basically adds up to is that the Government has gone on strike, or perhaps on lock-out. The Government doesn't want to govern, Mr. Speaker. I think the real reason is that the Government has realized that once all the fun and games of making appointments and having public relations meetings and television interviews, is over, it really has to get down to the hard, difficult and serious business of governing this country and it doesn't want to do it.

Conservatives have never liked to govern. Their long history has shown that. Now that that Party finally has a chance to govern, what happens? We have six straight days in Parliament with no government business on the Order Paper. Can you imagine, Mr. Speaker, any Government in a western democracy so totally abdicating its responsibility that it has to rely upon the Opposition to maintain the entire parliamentary business for almost a whole week?

I have to say that this really is one of the most curious commentaries on this Government. It is perhaps not only that the Government doesn't like to govern any more, but, probably more importantly, it is embarrassed by what it has on the Order Paper and doesn't want Parliament to bring it out for public examination or review. All I can conclude from this strange and unusual period we are going through is that the Government is somehow hoping that if it keeps the Opposition presenting the business of the day in Parliament it will then be able to squeeze all its Bills and estimates into the very last weeks of Parliament, and rush them through in order to make

sure Parliament does not get the opportunity to exercise its proper function, which is clearly to examine these issues and exchange different points of view. That is what we basically see in the attitude of the Government in this parliamentary procedure of having nothing but Opposition Days for a full week, and in its attempt to bring in closure on the only major piece of economic legislation that has been introduced. It is clear that they are afraid, and not prepared to defend their case in an honest, forthright, and effective way. Instead they rely upon all of the dodges; they hide behind procedure, and look for ways of avoiding and evading those responsibilities.

U0)

The fact is they cannot evade them. Holiday time is over. Canadians who are going to the polls are giving a very clear message.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY, S O. 62-FOREIGN DIRECT INVESTMENT-TIME ALLOCATION
Permalink
PC

Sinclair McKnight Stevens (Minister of Regional Industrial Expansion)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Stevens:

Fifty-four per cent in the last Gallup.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY, S O. 62-FOREIGN DIRECT INVESTMENT-TIME ALLOCATION
Permalink
LIB

Lloyd Axworthy

Liberal

Mr. Axworthy:

There is only one poll which really counts; that is when people put their ballots in the box.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY, S O. 62-FOREIGN DIRECT INVESTMENT-TIME ALLOCATION
Permalink
PC

Paul Wyatt Dick (Parliamentary Secretary to the President of the Privy Council)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Dick:

You got 26 per cent.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY, S O. 62-FOREIGN DIRECT INVESTMENT-TIME ALLOCATION
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LIB

Lloyd Axworthy

Liberal

Mr. Axworthy:

They gave a mandate last September and we all admitted that. No one is shying away from that. The only people who are unprepared to live up to that mandate are the Conservatives themselves. We are prepared to admit that we were defeated and are no longer the Government. We are now acting as the Opposition. Unfortunately, the Conservatives have been unable to recognize that their role has changed. They do not want to govern.

The Canadian people are sending messages in one provincial election after another as they vote against the Conservative Party. A large part of that vote is directed toward the "Mul-roney mugwumps" who do not know what they are up to. There is a very large counter-reaction taking place because the people realize that the Government is not prepared to effectively concentrate on the economic issues of the country.

In the past week we have seen clear examples of incredible confusion and contradiction. The Secretary of State for External Affairs (Mr. Clark) made one of the century's greatest jokes; he calls it a foreign policy review. However, if Canadians are to make any use of it, the Government had better send crayons out with it so it can be used as a colouring book. There is nothing in that document other than contradictions. It says they will review Canada's military strategy, but they will make decisions before making the review.

The grey or chartreuse document says that in order to stay internationally competitive we must ensure that Canadians

May 16, 1985

Supply

invest in research and development, that we control our own economic destiny, and that we hone our ability in high technology industries. Immediately after the paper was tabled the Minister of Science and Technology (Mr. Siddon) said that the Government cannot live up to its commitments on R and D. The Minister of Regional Industrial Expansion (Mr. Stevens) joyfully applauded the fact that a number of our major high technology industries are being taken over by foreigners. He said it is wonderful that a Canadian high technology industry is now owned by a company beyond our borders. He wants Canadians to agree that that is a wonderful thing. During the course of the hearings which were held on this Bill evidence was produced time and again that foreign owned companies produce far less research and development than do Canadian controlled companies. We are now simply selling off our birthright, our opportunity to do that which the Secretary of State for External Affairs says we should be doing.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY, S O. 62-FOREIGN DIRECT INVESTMENT-TIME ALLOCATION
Permalink
PC

Robert Hylton Brisco

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Brisco:

You sold your birthright, turkey.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY, S O. 62-FOREIGN DIRECT INVESTMENT-TIME ALLOCATION
Permalink
LIB

Lloyd Axworthy

Liberal

Mr. Axworthy:

We're not talking about agricultural policy. You are in the wrong chamber. You had better go to the other committee. Turkey is what they serve at Conservative fund raising dinners because they are all sitting at the head table.

During the very week that a paper is tabled on the need to develop research and development there is a take-over of Mitel and CTG. There are now reports in the paper that the Hon. Minister is trying to work out a sweetheart deal with foreign owned defence companies. In order to get them to buy Cana-dair and de Havilland he has to give them defence contracts. This is what we call purpose and direction in our economic affairs. This is what we call smart government. They have got to be kidding. Canadians have got to be asking themselves who is in charge here.

This Minister, who has a lot of time to go and give interviews to The Financial Post and all the business papers about his grand economic strategy, does not have time to do his job. His job is to be an economic development minister and establish clear guidelines and goals to make sure that control of a critical industry like high technology is retained in this country. Where was the Minister when he should have been trying to find alternative Canadian buyers? Where was he in trying to develop a pool of Canadian capital? We were told by the Minister of Finance (Mr. Wilson) in his Economic Statement that Canada has the largest pool of savings in the world; 13 per cent of our income goes into savings.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY, S O. 62-FOREIGN DIRECT INVESTMENT-TIME ALLOCATION
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PC

Sinclair McKnight Stevens (Minister of Regional Industrial Expansion)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Stevens:

Your Government was borrowing it all.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY, S O. 62-FOREIGN DIRECT INVESTMENT-TIME ALLOCATION
Permalink
LIB

Lloyd Axworthy

Liberal

Mr. Axworthy:

If that is where all the capital is, why is it not being allocated or directed into our high tech industries? Surely we can learn the lessons of the past and not sell off this industry, as we have the mining and manufacturing industries.

The Government has taken almost 200 days to come up with a Budget. The only initiative taken by the Minister of Finance was to cancel R & D spending. We desperately hope and pray

that in the Budget next week there will be some initiatives which will provide incentives to Canadians to invest in the high tech industry. But in the meantime this Minister, who said he is going to be the economic Czar, is really acting like a Czarina. He is not dealing with the business of the economy, he is much more interested in telling people what he wants to do. But actions speak louder than words. We will test him, not on his rhetoric, but on what he does, and what he is really doing is nothing; he is simply standing still, with the exception of cheerleading every takeover which takes place. That seems to be his role and responsibility.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY, S O. 62-FOREIGN DIRECT INVESTMENT-TIME ALLOCATION
Permalink
PC

Robert Hylton Brisco

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Brisco:

Tell us about the ERDA agreement in B.C.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY, S O. 62-FOREIGN DIRECT INVESTMENT-TIME ALLOCATION
Permalink
LIB

Lloyd Axworthy

Liberal

Mr. Axworthy:

Let me talk for a minute about the book publishing industry.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY, S O. 62-FOREIGN DIRECT INVESTMENT-TIME ALLOCATION
Permalink
PC

John Horton McDermid (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. McDermid:

Oh, yes, tell us about that one.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY, S O. 62-FOREIGN DIRECT INVESTMENT-TIME ALLOCATION
Permalink
LIB

Lloyd Axworthy

Liberal

Mr. Axworthy:

Let me go back to the words of the Minister who said in this House that the one area of the Canadian economy which was another sacred trust to the Conservative Party was the Canadian cultural industry. We all know the book publishing industry is an essential ingredient in the maintenance of our cultural identity; the written word is critical. So what happens? On March 31 the program to provide direct grants to the book publishing industry ran out. Was it replaced? Was any action taken by this Government to provide grants, tax incentives or support of some kind to the Canadian book publishing industry? No, the program was allowed to lapse. In the meantime we had an application for another takeover, that of Prentice-Hall by Gulf & Western, a company which has already taken over four or five publishing firms. Here was an opportunity for the Minister of Regional Industrial Expansion to give a very clear signal to foreign investors that at least in this one area we were not going to accept foreign ownership; in this one area we were going to protect our Canadian culture. But six months later there has been absolutely no action, no decision, nothing from the Minister. As a result of that omission, that inaction, that ineptitude, we now have two other firms, including Gulf & Western, which want to buy a fourth Canadian publishing concern, having taken over two other Canadian publishing companies in the month of April.

The foreign business community is pretty smart; they know how to read signals, and the signal from this Minister is that he does not care, he is not interested, not involved. If you are going to wait six months to make a decision on Prentice-Hall, let's get these other acquisitions and takeovers in under the wire.

The real tragedy in all this, Mr. Speaker, is that we brought in amendments to the Investment Canada Bill which took note of these problems of foreign ownership, but this Government and this Minister refused to pay any attention. In the case of high tech we clearly telegraphed what is now happening with Mitel, because that is only the tip of the iceberg. We said that any company which receives R & D grants from the Govern-

May 16, 1985

ment of Canada under the Investment Canada Bill should be subject to review.

Mitel gets the publicity because it is a large company. However, there are hundreds of smaller high tech firms in Canada that will be totally vulnerable and unprotected under Investment Canada. Did the Minister pay any attention to that warning from the Science Council? Did he pay any attention to the representations made at committee that in such a critical area to economic growth in Canada there should be at least a requirement for a review of those companies? The Minister said no, let the foreign companies come in and take over because his Government believes that is a virtue.

That amendment was not brought in because we wanted to confront the Minister and the Government. We were not opposing the principle of the Bill. We were offering to improve it and make it better in an attempt to deal with this matter.

Similarly, in the case of book publishing, we brought in amendments to the House that clearly indicated a desire to have Parliament establish the criteria upon which reviews will take place in the cultural industry. Let us not have it subject to regulation that can be shifted on the whim and caprice of orders in council. Our amendment would have Parliament establish the criteria so that it would be clearly understood by those in our economy, including the cultural groups and publishing groups, that this is in fact the parliamentary sanction. Once again, the Minister said he had no business with that because his interest really is keeping power unto himself. There is a clear disregard for Parliament in these actions and a clear interest in maintaining his own arbitrary, discretionary powers without reference to anyone else.

The Investment Canada Bill is severely flawed because it gives the Minister total and complete power without any accountability for his decisions to anybody else. He is not required to answer to Parliament, to the committee or even to his own Cabinet.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY, S O. 62-FOREIGN DIRECT INVESTMENT-TIME ALLOCATION
Permalink
PC

Sinclair McKnight Stevens (Minister of Regional Industrial Expansion)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Stevens:

Not true. Why can't you stick to the truth?

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY, S O. 62-FOREIGN DIRECT INVESTMENT-TIME ALLOCATION
Permalink
LIB

Lloyd Axworthy

Liberal

Mr. Axworthy:

He has no accountability whatsoever in these areas.

We introduced an amendment that would allow for this accountability in order to maintain some kind of balance in this area. Was there any willingness to consider these amendments or any willingness to debate? The Conservative Members sat in their places and would not debate the issue. Instead, the Government introduced closure.

Not only are the Conservatives not willing to administer the Government, they are not prepared to engage in the give and take of parliamentary exchange through the parliamentary process. They do not really favour Parliament because they believe that their large majority on September 4 gave them some form of divine right.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY, S O. 62-FOREIGN DIRECT INVESTMENT-TIME ALLOCATION
Permalink
PC

John Horton McDermid (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. McDermid:

You won't participate.

Supply

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY, S O. 62-FOREIGN DIRECT INVESTMENT-TIME ALLOCATION
Permalink
LIB

Lloyd Axworthy

Liberal

Mr. Axworthy:

Time and again we have said that if Members opposite are going to use Parliament, they should use it legitimately. The Member for Brampton-Georgetown (Mr. McDermid) is cackling in his seat. I said earlier that we are not dealing with agriculture, so I do not know why he is cackling so loud.

Of course, we want a foreign policy review but it should be legitimate. The Government should ensure that the document does not consider decisions that the Government is going to take without reference to Parliament. It should not be turned into a charade.

Similarly with respect to the Investment Canada Bill, the Government should ensure that the report stage of the Bill provides an opportunity to carefully consider every amendment. However, that is not the intention of the Government. We are prepared to spend as many hours, days or weeks in the House debating these matters as is required. That is why, in one sense, the opportunity to have an Opposition day is a form of blessing in disguise, because at least it gives us an opportunity that is denied us through the normal process of Parliament to bring these matters to the attention of the public.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY, S O. 62-FOREIGN DIRECT INVESTMENT-TIME ALLOCATION
Permalink
PC

John Horton McDermid (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources)

Progressive Conservative

Mr. McDermid:

You have never been denied anything.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   BUSINESS OF SUPPLY
Sub-subtopic:   ALLOTTED DAY, S O. 62-FOREIGN DIRECT INVESTMENT-TIME ALLOCATION
Permalink

May 16, 1985