Mr. Robert McCleave (Halifax-East Hants):
Mr. Speaker, the minister has made a suggestion on how some of the objectives contained in the two amendments before us could be achieved. In a moment I will give what I believe will be the answer to the Official Opposition to his suggestion, but first I wish to emphasize that the hon. member for Fundy-Royal (Mr. Fairweather) was on the right track when he suggested, in his amendment, the setting up of a process of consultation.
Foreign Takeovers Review Act
These days all provinces have a pretty heavy stake in industrial development. I know that the provinces in Atlantic Canada certainly do. We are all hungry for capital, for business, for the creation of jobs, and we set no national or parochial limits on where we may go to obtain the necessary funds. So, it is a matter of serious consequence to us whether any of the help that is given to industries which may come to our provinces will clash with some national policy administered by a government that may or may not be friendly to the interests of our regions.
The hon. member for Fundy-Royal and the hon. member for Waterloo (Mr. Saltsman) have made valid points in the suggestions they put forward. The question really boils down to whether there should or should not be consultation when the minister and his department administer this legislation. While he has rejected the process of consultation, the minister at least has shown some spirit of co-operation in his proposed amendment. Perhaps I should read the English version because when it was read in French by the minister the interpretation did not come through quite as we envisaged it. The English version would be to strike out lines 25 to 27 on page 2 and substitute the following:
(e) the compatability 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.
At least there would be a direction to the minister and his officials. If they exercised this function in a mean way rather than a generous way, or in a way that was not within the spirit of the proper operation of the legislation, they could be held to some kind of account, either in Parliament or in a parliamentary committee, and eventually the country would judge them for being cavalier or contemptuous with respect to the position of any province. This amendment provides a bridge toward the position staked out by the hon. member for Fundy-Royal and the hon. member for Waterloo. It does not go all the way. But around here, no matter how hard we grumble, we are conditioned to accepting the proferred half-loaf, and so on behalf of myself and my colleagues I say that we would be prepared to see the withdrawal of the two other amendments and acceptance of the one suggested by the minister.
Subtopic: FOREIGN TAKEOVERS REVIEW ACT