MASSE IN THE HOUSE: Speaking on the Investment Canada Act

Hansard - December 3, 2009 - Canada Investment Act

Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP): Mr. Speaker, I rise to follow up on a question with regard to the sale of Nortel industries to Ericsson. At the time we advocated that Nortel be examined under the Investment Canada Act and that the Investment Canada Act should be triggered for a couple of reasons. One of those was the national security clause that is now part of the Investment Canada Act.
It is important that I note that the Investment Canada Act was recently changed in a government budget bill. What that meant is it did not have the full due diligence normal legislation has when it is updated in the House of Commons. It did not go to committee. We did not have witnesses. It was part of a budgetary allocation. Hence the new model is exposed in many ways. That means weakened and has actually caused part of the problems.
The Investment Canada Act has a new provision called the national security clause, as I have noted. It is important in this case because the type of information and the type of department that was sold by Nortel to Ericsson did so for over $1 billion. Then shortly thereafter the argument came from the company and because of the way that the new legislation is written they could write it off as being less that $300 million and hence not subject to the financial arm of the Investment Canada Act. However that does not take it away from being under the national security clause.
There was good solid testimony provided in the committee hearings that we had about the military and also the security aspects of Nortel in this LTE technology, which is fourth generation streaming capabilities for the service provision of communications.
I am going to read a submission from RIM which is an expert with regard to this type of technology and its applications and where it believes the security aspect is involved. It states:
Mr. Brian Masse: Mr. Speaker, the issue with regard to national security is something that I actually raised back in 2002. It was objected to by then the Conservatives and Alliance. This was over China Minmetals Corporation, and I have long pushed for that review in this chamber.
Unfortunately, we did not have the due diligence of it going to committee and it has created many loopholes and weaknesses in that legislation and the review. That is the reason that they put it in a budget bill, because it was not worth the paper it was printed on.
It is interesting with regard to the national security file, because there was an investigation of Vodafone in Greece, as its networks were corrupted and it actually saw the loss of information from its military, its police and its elected officials. There was an investigation that actually had a disclosure that unauthorized interception of software had been installed on Ericsson switches used by Vodafone in Greece, so we have a specific case here related to Ericsson where its systems were actually manipulated and changed, and that is why we needed to have this full review and accountability.