Messages of the day: “There are security concerns around foreign takeovers”
Questions not answered: Does the Investment Canada Act require changes to accommodate CSIS’ national security concerns around foreign takeovers?
On Power & Politics, Hannah Thibedeau asked a panel of MPs to react to the CSIS report on security risks inherent in foreign takeovers. Pierre Poilievre said the investment climate in Canada makes it an attractive target, though he insisted there is a strong legislative review. Paul Dewar noted that such concerns aren’t new and pointed out that the government has yet to come up with definitions for “net benefit.” Geoff Regan highlighted the need for transparency. When asked if changes needed to accommodate CSIS concerns, Poilievre said changes were made to include national security concerns.
Greg Weston followed up this panel with news that behind the scenes, high-ranking CSIS officials have been meeting with Canada’s corporate elite to warn that “friendly” takeovers may not be so friendly.
Thibedeau spoke to former assistant director of intelligence for CSIS, Ray Boisvert, who said Canadians must recognize the threat environment has changed. He said it’s now more about commercial interests than government secrets. Boisvert said the need for vigilance is about guarding intellectual property and economic advantages, as there are exponential negative effects if we lose competitive advantage to countries not playing by the rules.
On Power Play, Don Martin also spoke to Boisvert, where he also noted that some of the concerns around state-owned companies are that they have the most capability and capital to acquire a strategic position in certain industries, and that China definitely fits this profile.
Martin then spoke to Wenran Jiang from the Asia Pacific Foundation about those same concerns. Jiang said Canada is at a crucial moment in the national debate: Is China a partner or an enemy? Jiang expressed concerns CSIS may be interfering with the investment process by being too heavy-handed with its warnings. Jiang noted that Canada has a lot to offer China.
In light of the Supreme Court of Canada ruling that gives standing for groups like the Downtown East Side Sex Workers Against Violence to make Charter challenges, Power & Politics spoke to lawyer Katrina Pacey, who represents the group. Pacey said that they plan to challenge the communication for the purposes of prostitution laws, bawdy house laws, and the procuring law that limits sex workers’ ability to work collectively. Pacey noted that there was a need to be able to challenge the laws collectively because it was impossible as individuals for the sex workers to take it on personally, and that the Court’s ruling reassured the women involved that their voices matter. Pacey said that prostitution laws are bad for society and have failed, that lives have been lost unnecessarily, and that sex workers are experiencing violence when there is a safer way to proceed.
Lt. Gen. (Ret’d) Charles Bouchard:
In a wide-ranging interview with retired former NATO commander Lt. Gen. Charles Bouchard, Thibedeau asked if NATO left Libya too soon. Bouchard noted that NATO had a limited military scope, and that the country will require other reforms from other groups, as NATO may not be the best tool to use.
Thibedeau spoke to Liberal MP Irwin Cotler, who is in New York, trying to get Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad banned from speaking at the United Nations. Cotler cited previous precedents for banning leaders from the UN Assembly, and that Ahmadinejad should be inadmissible to the country under American law.
Martin spoke with James Turk on his new book Love, Hope, Optimism, which collects essays from those who knew Jack Layton.