|Photo by David Samuel. (Wiki.)|
The incredible rise in foreign ownership in this country is a kind of economic suicide.
In the late ‘60s and early ‘70s foreign ownership reached over one-third of our industries, and foreign share of income generated reached 37.6 percent. Pierre Trudeau promulgated the Foreign Investment Review Act of 1975; and it began dropping, to a low of 21.4 percent. Official Statistics Canada figures show that by 2000, it was back up to the old levels again. This was because Brian Mulroney scrapped the Act; replacing it with Investment Canada, a body in charge of rubber-stamping foreign acquisitions.
As of 2008 we are proceeding rapidly to record levels of foreign ownership of our industries, resources, high-tech companies, and many other businesses including banking, communications, and insurance. Between 1985 and 2007 more than 10,500-plus companies had been taken over. Investment Canada monitored an incredible $834.86 billion, of which a paltry 2.3 percent was for new business investment. Essentially it was open season on takeovers by foreign corporate predators.
Foreign ownership is predominantly American, and many of our most prominent politicians, business leaders, and journalists encourage more direct investment into all facets of the Canadian economy. The Canadian Council of Chief Executives is constantly whining about the lack of foreign investment in this country. But in 2006, foreign investment in this nation amounted to an impressive $78.3 billion, while foreign
investment in all of the huge Chinese market amounted to only $83 billion. In all of India it was only $8.8 billion, Russia $31 billion, in Mexico and Brazil less than $21 billion. So don’t believe everything the right-wingers tell you. They have an interest, and it is not the public interest or the interest of working families in this country. According to BMO Capital Markets, “One area that often suffers is research, technology, design and development.”
A ‘secret’ 2006 Industry Canada document proposed that Ottawa should encourage even more foreign takeovers of Canadian industries. Many key pages of the document, prepared under the aegis of that paradigm of integrity Maxime Bernier, were heavily censored.
The Harper government’s enthusiasm for selling off that portion of our resources and industry that isn’t already foreign owned or dominated should not be underestimated. Jim Flaherty and David Emerson were in Beijing not too long ago, encouraging the Red Chinese to come in and buy up whatever the Americans don’t already own. Investment Canada has not, since 1985, turned down one foreign takeover! A former Finance official says, “Foreign takeovers will result in less tax at both the federal and provincial levels.”
He also says, “Private equity will load up debt in Canada, rendering the operation basically non-taxable, interest crossing the border will be free of withholding tax.”
Year after year, Canadians have expressed their concern in poll after poll about foreign ownership and even 66 percent of Conservatives said they wanted limits to foreign ownership and takeovers. Thank God Mr. Harper is listening! Not.
He’s real good friends with the bankers.
Harper approves Nexen, Progress takeovers. (Globe and Mail.)
Canada should reject Chiese state-owned takeovers. (Huffingtong Post Business.)