May 2, 1985 (33rd Parliament, 1st Session)

LIB

Don Boudria

Liberal

Mr. Boudria:

Of course, if the Minister really had the interests of the Canadian people at heart, if he really wanted to do the proper thing, he would withdraw the Bill entirely. But we know that that is not likely to happen, so we have attempted to put forward a series of strong and constructive amendments to convince this Government that the Bill could be salvaged somewhat, given a certain willingness on the part of Conservative members to understand that the modifications are indeed very necessary. We have not had the opportunity of convincing them so far, but we will continue to make our point and speak forcefully in this House on behalf of the people of Canada because the back-bench Conservative members are either unable or unwilling to do so. I am sure you understand this, Mr. Speaker, and that at an opportune time you of course would want to say this on behalf of the people of Canada because of the unwillingness of the Conservative members to do so.
We in our Party want to make the sharing of information with other Departments and agencies a formal duty of the Minister. We remember from the Domtar case and others that this particular Minister, and perhaps others who will succeed him in the future, does not have the regional interests of this country at heart.
I see the Minister of Public Works (Mr. La Salle) sitting across from me. He will know, because he knows how government does business, being in charge, in a way, of letting government contracts, that this can sometimes lead him into controversy. But the fact that he is familiar with how government does business, and being a Minister from Quebec, he will know, and so will the Hon. Member for Dollard (Mr. Weiner), that it is important to have that regional input into those kinds of decisions which may have an adverse effect on Canadian jobs. One of the best ways to prove this is to look back at the Domtar issue and several others in which unilateral decisions were imposed on everyone by the Minister of Regional Industrial Expansion (Mr. Stevens). I see my friend across the way is shaking his head in disapproval but he knows, being the good Member that he is, that many, many people had to lobby the Minister, and ultimately the real power in the Cabinet had to tell the Minister what to do, otherwise that province would have been forgotten. Well, on many other issues there may not be the intervention that there was in this particular case. Ministers would have their way individually and not act in the best interests of our country.
That holds true on several other issues. We know the Minister of Regional Industrial Expansion has some rather unique views, shall we say, on the issue of foreign investment. He believes all investments should be allowed to come in, even if it means eliminating Canadian jobs.
May 2, 1985

I remind you again of the issue I raised with you only a few days ago about the member from the Simcoe area who stated publicly that FIRA had not been strong enough to stop the take over of the Black & Decker factory in his riding and the eventual loss of hundreds of jobs. This was a Conservative member saying that FIRA was not strong enough. I am sure that when he is given the opportunity to vote on this Bill he will stand up and vote against the proposed Investment Canada legislation; he has already stated that the existing legislation needs to be strengthened, not destroyed. I find it unusual that that Member, who made such strong statements, did not participate in this debate. I challenge him now to stand up and make a contribution on the record, indicating how his constituents feel about this issue. He was quite forceful during last summer's election campaign when he talked to the good people of Barrie. He told them that he, as a Member of a Government of his Party, would not have allowed that takeover. They won that election and are in power-not that I like it, but nevertheless they are in power temporarily until the next election. They had promised to strengthen the legislation to ensure that there would not be take-overs that would unduly affect their constituents.
Rather than introducing measures to help small business, to assist the farmers of the country, or the people on social assistance, the Government's first priority was to help out the large multinational corporations. That is the priority of the Tories, Mr. Speaker. What happened to the beautiful promises they made to the people of Canada? They forgot them. They made 338 promises and probably around 325 of them will never be fulfilled.
That is enough to cause a backbench revolt by some of those very forceful Tory backbenchers who want the Government to do something to help small business and want to strengthen investment review legislation in order to ensure that jobs are not lost. Instead, they sit on their hands in the House, not even making a contribution. They do not say a word while the Minister of Regional Industrial Expansion is perpetrating this vicious attack on the Canadianization of our industries. When the Bill was introduced all Members on the Government side who were in the House that day applauded the legislation. They sat in their places applauding legislation which was contrary to the promises they made to the voters of their riding in the last election campaign.
The Government should withdraw the Bill entirely. However, the very least it can do is to approve whole-heartedly and speak in favour of Motion 19 as proposed by my colleague.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   INVESTMENT CANADA ACT
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