Conservatives/Liberals Nix National Security Definition

Green Party Leader Elizabeth May, MP Saanich-Gulf Islands, today expressed her frustration and concern after Conservative and Liberal Members of Parliament in the Finance Committee voted against her attempt to add a definition of “national security” to the Investment Canada Act.

“For years, the Conservatives have been promising a definition as they accepted the CNOOC takeover of Nexen and other foreign takeovers,” said May.  “Today, in the confines of a parliamentary committee, they showed their real colours.  So did the Liberals.”

The Conservative-appointed Competition Policy Review Panel recommended in its June, 2008, Compete to Win report that:  “ … it is in Canada’s interests in a post-911 world to have in place an explicit national security test to support its trade and investments policies.  As such, we support the Minister of Industry’s statement that the government intends to carefully consider the creation of a new review requirement for transactions that raise ‘national security’ concerns …”

The Regulatory Impact Assessment Statement for the National Security Review of Investments Regulations noted that one of the major comments received from stakeholders in 2009 was that “the term national security should be explicitly defined and national security reviews should take place according to concrete, objective and transparent criteria.”

Earlier today, after being invited by the Finance Committee, May attempted to introduce an amendment calling for a national security definition.  May was not allowed to vote and, although her amendment was supported by NDP MPs, it was defeated.

“Canadians need a very clear definition of national security so that the present and future governments will be forced to act according to an agreed-upon set of principles, and not act arbitrarily,”  May said.  “Today, this was sabotaged.”