CAW Blasts Harper Pledge to Relax Foreign Takeover Rules

September 16, 2008, 11:56 AM EST

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Conservative leader Stephen Harper's election pledge to further relax foreign investment rules governing the takeover of Canadian companies is a huge step in the wrong direction for our country, says Ken Lewenza, CAW national president.

"The Harper government's record on managing the Canadian economy is already terrible," Lewenza said. "We are currently suffering through a massive crisis in the manufacturing and resource sectors that have resulted in the loss of tens of thousands of good jobs," Lewenza said today.

"Allowing foreign companies to gain further control over our economy will only make things much worse. We've seen a hollowing out of corporate Canada already under our currently lax takeover rules. This is not a solution to our economic woes and could mean the wholesale sell off of our nation's resources," Lewenza said.

Consider the list of foreign takeovers of major Canadian companies that has occurred recently without proper review that safeguard Canadian jobs and Canada's best interests: Alcan, Falconbridge, Inco, Molson, Fairmont, The Bay, and Dofasco, to name a few. In 2007, a record-setting $314 billion in takeovers involving 1,848 companies occurred surpassing the previous record of $281.7 billion in 2006, according to Bloomberg news.

The Harper Conservatives are the first federal government to reside over a decline in average national productivity during its term of office since Statistics Canada began gathering productivity data in 1961. A recent CCPA report shows that productivity has suffered a cumulative decline over the Harper government's term of office.

Since Harper's election in January 2006 approximately 170,000 manufacturing jobs have been chopped and many thousands more are on the way as the fallout from continuing plant closures and downsizings gets worse.

Today's announcement by Harper that his government would raise the threshold for automatic government reviews of all foreign takeovers to $1 billion from the current $295 million mark means a huge of chunk of our economy would not be subject to any kind of federal review when a foreign takeover was planned, said Lewenza.

"How does allowing more foreign control of our airlines or our uranium industry create more Canadian jobs or build our economy?" Lewenza asked.

"How can we trust Harper on the economy when his government has presided over a decrease in productivity and a staggering loss in manufacturing and resource jobs and now he wants to allow more unregulated foreign takeovers of Canadian companies," Lewenza said.

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