Ottawa, ON – The Hon. Michelle Rempel Garner, Shadow Minister for Industry and Economic Development, issued the following statement after moving a motion at the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology to study the sale of Canadian strategic assets to state owned enterprises (SOEs) during the pandemic:
June 1, 2020
“Companies across Canada have reportedly experienced significant devaluations due to the pandemic. In some circumstances, companies in financial distress may seek to be acquired by a foreign owned entity as a way to stave off bankruptcy.
“Investment in Canada is a good thing and should be encouraged. The worry comes when companies that are vital to Canada’s national interest are acquired by firms tied to authoritarian SOEs. That’s when it becomes a matter of national security.
“That is why I moved my motion during the Industry Committee to study the Investment Canada Act. We urgently need to review current thresholds to trigger a net benefit review under the Act, as well as the adequacy of the national security review for purchases of Canadian companies and strategic assets by state owned enterprises of authoritarian countries.
“If enough of these takeovers occur, there is a concern that those investments could be consolidated, and we could be in a situation where a foreign government controls a portion of Canada’s strategic industries.
“I don’t understand why Liberal members of the committee voted against this non-partisan motion. I thank both Brian Masse of the NDP and Sebastien Lemire of the Bloc for their support.
“The Liberals must ensure that bad actors do not take advantage of this crisis to purchase Canadian companies at fire sale prices. Canada’s Conservatives believe that foreign transactions involving Canadian companies should only be approved if the transaction is in the best interest of Canadians.”
The text of the motion is as follows:
That, given the House motion made last week granted the committees power to study outside their usual scope, the Standing Committee on Industry, Science, and Technology conduct a study on Investment Canada Act; that this study determine the extent to which companies within strategic Canadian industries have been devalued as a result of the COVID-19 crisis; the extent to which foreign buyouts may occur; determine whether the current Investment Canada Act valuation thresholds is adequate to trigger a net benefit review given the potential extreme devaluation of companies within strategic Canadian industries; determine whether Canada should place a temporary moratorium on acquisitions from state owned enterprises of authoritarian countries; that this study consist of no less than four meetings; that this study be completed by June 21, 2020; that the Committee table its findings; and that the Government table a comprehensive response.