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NEWS: Council of Canadians opposes $1 billion threshold for foreign investment reviews

CBC reports, “The federal government is raising to $1 billion the amount of foreign money that can go into a Canadian company before the investment is reviewed. Right now, an investment or takeover of a Canadian business worth $330 million or more triggers a federal review under the Investment Canada Act. The industry minister looks at whether the investment is of ‘net benefit’ to Canada, though current laws don’t explain what that means.”

“NDP industry critic Hélène LeBlanc said the changes will negatively impact communities. The NDP wants the threshold lowered to $100 million, she said. ‘We have seen a lot of foreign takeovers followed by lay-offs and broken promises,’ she said, pointing to Caterpillar closing its Electro-Motive Diesel plant in London, Ont. …The NDP also want to see the definition of net benefits clarified, she added.”

“A news release from Industry Minister Christian Paradis’ office says the changes were first proposed in 2009 and adjusted based on consultations.”

In March 2009, the Toronto Star reported, “The Conservative government plans to drop the barriers to foreign investment under $1 billion, a move critics say could lead to the hollowing out of Canadian business under increased foreign ownership…A special (government-appointed) competition policy review panel presented a report in June calling for Canada to throw open the doors to foreign ownership in telecommunications, air travel and uranium mining and even recommending bank mergers to avoid falling farther behind in the global economy.”

The article noted, “‘It is unfortunate to see the government of Canada acting more in the interest of foreign investment than in the development and support of a Canadian economy,’ Brent Patterson, a spokesperson for the Council of Canadians, said yesterday.”

On June 27, 2008, when the ‘competition panel’ presented their report, the Toronto Star reported, “Dylan Penner, a spokesperson for the Council of Canadians, said the results of the report ‘were pretty much predetermined. I would have been surprised if they had come out with a report that said `We need to protect the environment and health and reduce globalization,’ but that’s obviously not their agenda.’”