June 10, 1993 (34th Parliament, 3rd Session)


Ross Harvey

New Democratic Party

Mr. Harvey (Edmonton East):

It is abundantly clear. It is inescapably clear. It could not be clearer if it came up to him with a sledge-hammer and beaned him.
What it shows is that for the period from 1980 to 1990-and this is not a particularly odd decade in these regards; we could choose any other decade and find the same thing-while Canadian controlled companies in the petroleum industry generated a net inflow of $1.5 billion into Canada foreign controlled companies in the Canadian petroleum industry generated a net outflow of $25.3 billion.
That can only be described as a terrible drain on the Canadian economy. It unquestionably cost us millions of jobs. It unquestionably dampened whatever economic activity we might otherwise have obtained and it unquestionably continues to harm our economy. That is the price of foreign control in the petroleum industry. It is clear and it is plain. It should come as a surprise to no one.
In Bill C-106 we are proposing to replicate on the Canada lands precisely those conditions which led to this grotesque outflow of capital from Canada in consequence of foreign control and ownership from the western sedimentary basin in the decade of the 1980s.
These facts are so plain, so clear and so compelling that one stands in amazement, grasping for some reason that any government with the Canadian national interest in mind would propose such an absurd bill.
I must say, short of what borders on conspiracy theory on the one hand or actions of rank stupidity on the other, I find it difficult to come up with a reasonable explanation. The explanation that has been fronted by the industry touts-for example the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers which masquerades as a Canadian association but which is principally, not exclusively, a front for the American controlled companies that operate in Canada-submitted a letter to the committee that allegedly studied the bill which said: "Capital migrates to countries where the opportunities offer attractive terms and demonstrate competitive yields. The Canadian own-
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ership restrictions discourage needed capital inflows". Is that not ironic?
It continued: "The Canadian ownership restrictions discourage needed capital inflows by suggesting to foreign investors that their capital is neither needed nor welcome. This is a negative signal, the end result of which is that opportunities for Canadian companies are undermined since they are reliant on capital inflow for development".
Clearly this is a captious argument and it is so precisely because it is saying this legislation will have benefit for Canadian companies when the whole point is to allow the greater activity in the Canada lands of non-Canadian companies. Without wishing to sound too derisive I think we can safely say that the argument advanced by the CAPP and others in this regard is at best self-serving.
This brings me to the final mystery I wish to contemplate this afternoon. Why in the name of sweet reason does the Official Opposition find itself supporting this bill? On a recorded division at second reading, every Liberal present in the House rose in support of this bill. I suspect if we were to undertake a recorded division at third reading we would find the same thing. This is a mystery to me.
Over the years I have disagreed with the liberal Party of Canada on many things but I always thought that at least it was a quasi-nationalist party. It amazes me that a quasi-nationalist party could bring itself to support this odious little piece of comprador selling out. I do not understand it.
I rather look forward to any of the Liberal members here this afternoon getting up to say how the party of Pearson, Trudeau, St. Laurent, Mackenzie King or any of the reasonable Liberal Prime Ministers we have experienced in this nation's history can support this unfortunate, costly, shameful, and comprador piece of legislation. I look forward to it but I do not anticipate it.
I have no doubt that this bill will pass. The government's majority will ensure that. However no argument has been adduced at second reading, in committee or thus far this afternoon which can possibly support the passage of this bill in the face of the certain negative consequences.

June 10, 1993
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In summary, what is proposed this afternoon is that we strip from the Canadian people forever, or least for as long as the North American free trade agreement remains in effect, their ability to reserve petroleum development in the Canada lands for Canadians by Canadians and in the Canadian interest. We are stripping that away and we do so knowing full well that over the long term the principal consequence of that will be the massive export of needed capital from our country.
I would welcome anyone rising in this House this afternoon to make a compelling and logical argument as to why in the face of these certainties this House should support this bill. In fact I defy any member present to attempt it.

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