July 4, 1972 (28th Parliament, 4th Session)


Jean-Luc Pepin (Minister of Industry, Trade and Commerce)


Mr. Pepin:

Mr. Speaker, all this shows that the problem is much more complex than would appear at first sight. My remarks were intended to show that considerable difficulties do exist.
However, I do not see, quite frankly, how we could ignore economic and industrial policies in the provinces affected by a takeover, especially in the very province where it happens. And this simply because the purchaser, the one who takes control, first of all will have clearly to understand and afterwards take into account the provincial policies in the industrial and economic fields.
The problem in such acquisitions of control is not one of impact on the economic policy, but rather of consistency between the takeover and the economic and industrial policies in the province or the provinces involved.
Mr. Speaker, all I want to say concerning compatibility is that those responsible for administering Bill C-201 will necessarily have to take it into consideration, "compatibility" and "taking into consideration" being the two key words.
Mr. Speaker, I think that one could very well assume that. One can also say so. I have handed to my two hon. friends copy of a possible amendment. If they are interested and wish to support it, I am ready to introduce it, by unanimous consent of the House. As a sixth factor or, still better, as a complement to the fifth factor, that is compatibility of the acquisition with the industrial and economic policy of the federal government, one could add the following:
(e) the compatibility of the acquisition with national industrial and economic policies, taking into consideration industrial and economic policies of any province likely to be significantly affected by the acquisition.
July 4, 1972

There it is. If my hon. friends are in favour of this amendment, I am ready to move it since it represents the situation which will in fact exist when the bill C-201 becomes law.
Mr. Speaker, the hon. member for Edmonton West asked who will administer the Act? He is also concerned as to whether we will have enough expertise to overcome the complexity of situations that will have to be faced. I think the answer is yes. There are in the department people who are competent enough, I would even say quite competent, and of course, we will call upon all the other departments. The consultation process will also give us access to the provincial expertise and if we should need more than that, we will call upon the hon. member for Edmonton West to enlighten us on some particularly difficult aspects of this legislation. Of course, I am saying this with a smile, Mr. Speaker. The department and the minister are aware that the legislation will be difficult to administer and they will use "all the government's lights" and even those of private enterprise in order to clarify the many mysteries to which the hon. member for Edmonton West referred.
The hon. member for Edmonton West was also wondering with whom we would consult at the provincial level, when the need for consultation arises.
In my opinion, the answer is very simple. It will be up to a province to decide which one of its ministers will deal with the federal minister and his officials. I think it is customary for provincial premiers to write to the Prime Minister, as it happens frequently enough, as follows: My Minister of Federal and Provincial Affairs will consult with the responsible federal minister, or conversely, the Prime Minister of Canada indicates which of his ministers will participate in some federal-provincial negotiations. I do not expect difficulties to arise but, as a matter of principle, such talks should be held between the Ministers of Industry, Trade and Commerce on both the federal and provincial levels, except when a province objects to it and prefers to deal through its Minister of Federal and Provincial Affairs which is a department already existing in some provinces.
Mr. Speaker, I have attempted to show why the federal government could not commit itself to compulsory consultation through an understood or expressed right of veto. However, I have tried to indicate that informal consultations on takeovers, as well as generally on the whole of economic problems, are a foremost concern for the federal Minister of Industry, Trade and Commerce. I have proposed an amendment which could make matters a little more formal if hon. members so desire.

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