IN THE HOUSE ~ Question ~ Clarity in the Investment Canada Act to define “net benefit” should have been in place years ago

41st Parliament, 1st Session ~ Context : Question

Mr. Peter Julian (Burnaby—New Westminster, NDP): Mr. Speaker, I am going to try again to clarify the confused, muddled position of the Conservative government on clarity in the Investment Canada Act. One minute, it says that clarity is not needed; the next minute, anonymous sources are saying that Conservatives want to redefine the net benefit test.

Apparently the Conservatives want a two-track system. This is worrisome to
anyone who saw them run their single-track system off the rails last Friday
night at midnight in the Petronas decision.

Two-track, single-track, off-the-track, are the rules going to be in place before the
decision on Nexen? Yes or no.

Hon. Christian Paradis (Minister of Industry and Minister of State (Agriculture), CPC): Mr. Speaker, we improved the rules in 2007. We put in new guidelines for the state-owned enterprises. We put in a national security provision in 2009, and tools to communicate, also.

As I said in regard to the proposed transaction, this will be scrutinized very closely.
Each decision taken by the government is taken in the best interests of
Canadians.

Mr. Peter Julian (Burnaby—New Westminster, NDP): Mr. Speaker, it is not the interests of Canadians the Conservatives have in mind, it is the best interests of the Conservative Party and their friends. That is why they keep mishandling these issues. It is no way to run an economy. Clarity on net benefit should have been in place years ago. We did the work and the government dropped the ball. The NDP has been pushing for a clear and transparent net benefit test for years and they are mishandling decisions on Canadian--

Some hon. members: Oh, oh!

The Speaker: Order, order. The hon. member for Burnaby—New Westminster still has the floor.

Mr. Peter Julian: Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives cannot bear to hear the truth.
Since they are mishandling these files, why are they flipping a coin? Why are
they doing it on the back of a napkin? Why are they so irresponsible?

Hon. Christian Paradis (Minister of Industry and Minister of State (Agriculture), CPC): Mr. Speaker, we are open for foreign investment and each investment has to provide a net benefit for this country. But the on the other side of the House members are anti-trade, anti-investment and they offer a carbon tax that would put a $21 billion burden on the shoulders of Canadian taxpayers. Mr. Speaker, we will not go down that path, I reassure you.