Ross HARVEY

HARVEY, Ross

Personal Data

Party
New Democratic Party
Constituency
Edmonton East (Alberta)
Birth Date
April 25, 1952
Website
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ross_Harvey
PARLINFO
http://www.parl.gc.ca/parlinfo/Files/Parliamentarian.aspx?Item=9c98e802-556e-4f2b-94a3-0d117ae2c184&Language=E&Section=ALL
Profession
information manager, research director, researcher

Parliamentary Career

November 21, 1988 - September 8, 1993
NDP
  Edmonton East (Alberta)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 1 of 115)


June 10, 1993

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-

Govemment Orders

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.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   SPEAKER'S RULING
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June 10, 1993

Mr. Harvey (Edmonton East):

I mentioned him in addition to the hon. member. The bill will make it possible that there be technology transfers to Canada presumably from other places on the planet where foreign corporations have developed technology that we can use here and thus better exploit our resources.

I suspect the hon. member who has just spoken and who is the parliamentary secretary is aware of the fact that Canada currently enjoys an overwhelming positive trade balance in oilfield technology. In fact, we are among the technological leaders on the planet. In those areas that would be affected by the bill, which is to say the Canada lands and the offshore, we have the leading technology in the world today. They are Canadian technologies.

I am not quite certain what technologies the parliamentary secretary and the member from Newfoundland were speaking of when they said that this bill might facilitate a greater infusion of technology. We have it. It

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is here. It is ours. We make our money selling it internationally.

The question I want to put to the hon. member is whether, in his opinion, there is any correlation between the introduction of this bill and its support by the government party and the Official Opposition and the fact that both received very generous donations from the foreign controlled oil companies. The donation that springs to mind immediately was in 1991 when I believe $49,000 was given to each of them by Imperial Oil. As well thousands and thousands of dollars come to each of them from virtually all the foreign controlled petroleum companies operating in Canada. I would like to know whether he sees any correlation.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   SPEAKER'S RULING
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June 10, 1993

Mr. Harvey (Edmonton East):

On division.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   SPEAKER'S RULING
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June 10, 1993

Mr. Ross Harvey (Edmonton East):

Mr. Speaker, I am indeed sorry that the amendments I proposed at report stage on this bill were deemed to be out of order because I think considering each in turn would have helped to focus the mind of the House on the actual import and impact of Bill C-106. The House having been denied that opportunity, I will see what I can do to rectify it at this third reading.

To start I would like to quote at length from the North American free trade agreement. I refer your attention to article 1102 in chapter eleven of the North American free trade agreement titled national treatment. It reads in section 1:

Each Party shall accord to investors of another Party treatment no less favourable than it accords, in like circumstances, to its own investors with respect to the establishment, acquisition, expansion, management, conduct, operation, and sale or other disposition of investments.

Section 4 of article 1102 reads:

For greater certainty, no Party may

(a) impose on an investor of another party a requirement that a minimum level of equity in an enterprise in the territory of the Party be held by its nationals, other than nominal qualifying shares for directors or incorporators of corporations;

This means that the Canadian ownership rule we have had in place since 1982, which has served by virtue of the previous government policy for Canada outside the lands administered under federal jurisdiction, and the act that we are repealing here today for those areas within federal jurisdiction, which is the Canada lands in the north and the offshore areas off Newfoundland and Nova Scotia, has been a requirement since 1982 that any

June 10, 1993

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person receiving a production licence for oil or gas would have to be a Canadian citizen, a permanent resident or a corporation the shares of which are 50 per cent held by Canadians.

We should be very clear on this. What the bill before us this afternoon proposes to do is delete that Canadian ownership requirement. It means that henceforth in the areas where previously you had to have 50 per cent Canadian ownership at least to undertake production of oil and gas you will now have no minimum Canadian ownership requirement.

You could be 100 per cent Fijian or Mercurian and it would not matter. You could still go ahead. The other restrictions of course would apply but the Canadian ownership requirement would not. This brings our statute and regulations into full accord with the North American free trade agreement in articles 1102 and sections 1 and 4.

There is as well in this North American free trade agreement article 1108, reservations and exceptions. I should like now to turn to that. It reads:

Articles 1102, 1103, 1106 and 1107 do not apply to:

(a) any existing non-conforming measure that is maintained by

(i) a Party at the federal level as set out in its Schedule to Annex I or III

Even though we have maintained in statute and policy what we can call in the language of the North American free trade agreement a non-conforming measure we can do that now only if we set out in Canada's schedule to annex I basically a statement that we are maintaining this non-conforming measure.

Lo and behold that is precisely what the government did. You will find it on page I-C-23 of the North American free trade agreement. It reads in part on this annex page which deals with the sector on energy and the subsection of oil and gas:

Industry classification: SIC 071 Crude Petroleum and Natural

Gas Industries

Type of Reservation: National Treatment (Article 1102)

Level of Government: Federal

Among the measures included in the reservation are those arising out of the Canada Petroleum Resources Act, the Territorial Lands Act, the Public Lands Grants Act, the Canada-Newfoundland Atlantic Accord Implementation Act, the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Resources Accord Implementation Act and the Canada Oil and Gas Land Regulations.

The description of the reservation governing investment includes:

Persons who hold oil and gas production licenses or shares therein for discoveries made after March 5, 1982 must be Canadian citizens ordinarily resident in Canada, permanent residents or corporations incorporated in Canada. No production license may be issued for discoveries made after March 5,1982 unless the Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources is satisfied that the Canadian ownership rate of the interest-owner in relation to the production license on the date of issuance would not be less than 50 per cent.

That is the golden umbrella beneath which we sheltered our Canadian ownership requirement from the North American free trade agreement. However there is a catch. I will read article 1108 again: "Articles 1102, 1103, 1106 and 1107 do not apply to a) any existing non-conforming measure that is maintained".

"Any existing non-conforming measure". With the anticipated passage of Bill C-106 we are removing, deleting, and eradicating our existing non-conforming measure. This having been done, we will not hereafter, for so long as the North American free trade agreement is in effect, be allowed to return to a regime of Canadian ownership requirements.

What we are proposing to do today is delete in perpetuity the ability of the Canadian people through their Parliament to determine that some minimum percentage of the strategic petroleum industry must be undertaken and maintained by Canadian nationals. Henceforth, that ability of the Canadian people to determine this element in their economic fate will be gone. That is the import of Bill C-106.

Some people will say that is okay, it does not matter, who cares? They will say that we are getting globalized, capital is moving back and forth and borders are meaningless. Unfortunately that thesis is simply incorrect and the experience of Canada in this regard is decisively instructive.

For better than a decade now the Petroleum Monitoring Agency has been keeping records about the inflow and outflow of capital into and out of Canada within the petroleum industry. It has been keeping these records in a series of different accounts. The record is abundantly clear.

June 10, 1993

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   SPEAKER'S RULING
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June 10, 1993

Mr. Ross Harvey (Edmonton East):

Mr. Speaker, I rise to speak in support of the amendment proposed today by the hon. member for Halifax. In doing so I wish to note at the outset that I, as do the rest of my colleagues in the New Democratic Party caucus, support the bill itself. We are seeking here merely to provide for its eventual improvement.

The thing that must be borne in mind as we consider the merits of this amendment is that with this bill we are embarking on very fresh territory in Canadian law. We are moving into areas of conduct, behaviour and pathology that we have never before entered into through the Criminal Code. This being the case, prudence dictates that we monitor closely, and at some fixed time review the operations of the act. To fail to do so would be to abandon a responsibility that is placed on us precisely because this is so new an element in Canadian law.

I do not believe that any prudent government would allow the operation of this law without close scrutiny and indeed a formal review at some point following the coming into force of the law. However I must say that the current government has engaged in many activities that I would have thought no sane government would do.

To say that we should at this point sort of accept the fact that it is understood that this is a brand new departure and that in consequence we may simply rely on the government in its own good time and in its own good fashion, to undertake whatever review is necessary is a pleasant thought, but it is not one with which I am wholly comfortable. Rather I would suggest, as this amendment proposes, that we retain in this House the authority and the ability five years hence to undertake our own review of the operations of this bill.

Again I would suggest that simple prudence dictates this, especially given the questions and concerns that are still out among sections of the public regarding the bill. I think for example of the amendment proposed today by the hon. member for New Westminster-Burnaby concerning labour disputes which has been defeated in this House. That concern is still there.

June 10, 1993

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I think, as well, of the concerns that have been publicly and forcefully expressed by the National Action Committee on the Status of Women concerning the nature of the apprehension a woman must have under the current provisions of the bill.

Over time these concerns may prove warranted but we will not know that. We will not have any formal mechanism in place to review those questions and come to those conclusions in the absence of the amendment proposed here today.

I bear in mind that, although it is true this bill had all-party support in committee, it went through clause-by-clause study of this radically new departure in three hours. I know my colleague, the hon. member for New Westminster-Burnaby, proposed six amendments some of which were accepted. There was a raft of government amendments. But in three hours they tore through the bill in committee.

It may be that that is necessary. It may be that such times are required to get the bill through the House before we adjourn next week. If that is required, so be it.

However, even allowing that that haste is required, again I say that prudence dictates a fixed review. I commend the idea to the members of this House. Do not abandon that potentially extremely useful tool.

A review in five years will harm no one. It will cost comparatively little if anything and will give us a safeguard that any prudent House would wish to set in place.

Having said that let me conclude by saying that we wish Godspeed to this bill. We look forward to its coming into force as rapidly as possible because we know there is a stalking problem out there.

I do not believe there is a community in this country that has been left untouched by the terrible tragedy of women being murdered because they had the ill fortune at some point to be associated with an unbalanced, pathological male.

I know in my community this has happened more than once in and around the city of Edmonton. The most recent case that springs to mind included circumstances

where the woman was being stalked and her family went to the police and said: "This is happening. We need help". That help was not forthcoming.

It is hoped under this act that help will come. Nothing we do here can bring back to life those women who have been murdered in our communities. However it is hoped that what we do here today will prevent such murders in future.

We commend to the House this amendment. It is certainly our intention regardless to support the bill.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   REVIEW OF ACT
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