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


Dave Nickerson

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Nickerson:

-are nice and get this over with in a reasonable period of time. I ask Members of the Opposition not to force us to bring in time allocation on closure. I think we have to look at the rules of the House of Commons so we can allow the opportunity for a certain amount of delay-that is the only real power the Opposition has-but at the same time not force the Opposition into forcing the Government to bring in time allocation on practically every Bill where there is a great difference of opinion between the two sides of the House.
With respect to Motion No. 20, this is one of the most peculiar motions I have ever read in this House. The Hon. Member for Essex-Windsor (Mr. Langdon) who introduced this should go back to law school and take a course in legislative drafting, because the motion is meaningless. It purports to give to the agency the power to ask for policy directives. Any one can ask for a policy directive. I can ask for a policy directive. One does not have to write that into legislation.
If we really want to take a look at what it says here and draft it properly, what we would be saying in the Bill would be the other way around. It would say the Governor in Council shall have the authority to give policy directives to the agency. If that is what was said here, can you imagine, Sir, the howls of indignation that would come from the benches opposite? The Governor in Council is the Cabinet for all intents and purposes and we would be hearing that we have in law set up an agency that is supposed to conduct its affairs with some degree of objectivity, yet here you are giving a bunch of politicians who form the Cabinet the power to overrrule them. That is what is really being said here. If that was translated into proper, legal legislative language, I am sure opposition Members, particularly those in the New Democratic Party, would be absolutely against what they are trying to say here. It makes no sense whatsoever.
If we look at the motion introduced by the former Minister of Transport, we see that it is completely superfluous and redundant. All one has to do is read Clause 5 of the Bill. The agency is supposed to advise and assist in the exercising of all the powers and duties of the Minister by virtue of the existing Clause 6. They are all listed already. They are precisely the things which are repeated again in Motion No. 19. There is absolutely no need for it. All it is is a vehicle for debate and prolongment. There is no way that we on this side of the House will vote for something which is as nonsensical and as redundant as Motion No. 19. All these authorities are already given; all the directions are given to the Minister by the House of Commons, by the Parliament of Canada, in Clause 5.
In conclusion, I would like to make an illustration or give an example. When we had FIRA in the country, it was the big brick wall. Everybody was up against FIRA. It was an agency of Government, and its objective appeared to be to stifle investment in Canada. It was the agency which always said no. It was a very negative agency.
Investment Canada Act
In this Bill we are trying to do quite the opposite. We are trying to establish a positive agency which can be a repository for advice, knowledge and expertise in the field of investment in Canada, both by Canadians and by non-Canadians. When people walk into the office of the new agency, they will be welcomed. They will be told that we want them to invest and to create jobs in Canada. They will be told that we want profitable businesses in Canada. If they are profitable, then we can tax them. We will not subscribe to the old Liberal ideas where we have to say no to everything. We will not tell them to keep out, that we do not want their business or that we are not worried about jobs and profits.
Two or three years ago I had the opportunity to visit Malaysia which had an agency in some respects similar to the one we are trying to establish under this Bill. In talking with the members of that agency, in comparison with crossing the street and talking with FIRA people here, it was like night and day. Although there were the same kind of political problems there as there are in Canada, in that they were worried about an excess of foreign ownership and having to put on some degree of control, just as we are doing with this Bill, the whole emphasis or attitude was different. It was: "Come on in and we will try to facilitate the making of your investment because it will be to the benefit of both of us". That is what we are trying to do with this Bill.
I hope the Opposition Parties will quit using delay, will state the case and be prepared to vote on the Bill so that we can get the Act into effect as quickly as possible and start creating jobs and investment opportunities in Canada.

Full View