Do you believe the Government when it says that Lockheed Martin will not have access to Canadian census records?
- CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS (CN) WAS PRIVATIZED. NOW IT’S RUN BY AMERICANS. G&M JAN 2009.
- KERRY WRITES re SOCIALISM AND CAPITALISM (…it alarmed me that not only do their corporations have control of our energy supplies but now our most important transportation system for our grain.)
- CANADIAN PATRIOTIC PROTEST SIMMERS AT CN FACILITY, GLOBE & MAIL, JAN 09, 2009
- PRIME MINISTER TRUDEAU AND THE FOREIGN INVESTMENT REVIEW AGENCY (FIRA)
- FOREIGN INVESTMENT IN CANADA, FROM THE CANADIAN ENCYCLOPEDIA WITH THANKS
- SELLING OUR COUNTRY AND OUR SOUL, (click on the link) MEL HURTIG, FEB 2006
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1. CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILWAYS (CN) WAS PRIVATIZED. NOW IT’S RUN BY AMERICANS. G&M JAN 2009.
EMAIL SENT: 20/01/2009
In follow-up to the email “Water: B.C., buy-ups of small enterprises leads to control by large corporations, American owned”, sent Jan 19, CN (Canadian National Railways) is an interesting case.
From Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canadian_National_Railway
” … The CN Commercialization Act was enacted into law on July 13, 1995 and by November 28, 1995, the federal government had completed an initial public offering (IPO) and transferred all of its shares to private investors. Two key prohibitions in this legislation include,
1) that no individual or corporate shareholder may own more than 15% of CN, and
2) that the company’s headquarters must remain in Montreal, thus maintaining CN as a Canadian corporation.”
From the Globe & Mail report, Jan 09, 2009:
“It’s an American company now, run almost totally by Americans,” he (Mr. Lilley) said. “There isn’t much you can do.”
(2) KERRY WRITES re SOCIALISM AND CAPITALISM (…it alarmed me that not only do their corporations have control of our energy supplies but now our most important transportation system for our grain.)
What got me thinking about this (socialism) was a news article about a minor rebellion by CN workers against their new American management at a railway workhouse near Winnipeg. The American boss removed the large Canadian flags that were hanging in the building and instructions were sent out that the company was to be called CN, not Canadian National.
So the workers took to plastering sticker flags to their helmets. The American boss said he didn’t care because the only flag worth fighting for was the one on the pole. I did not realize that CN was under American management and it alarmed me that not only do their corporations have control of our energy supplies but now our most important transportation system for our grain.
Once the government killed the Crow, and privatized CN, it was free to make huge profits and expand under NAFTA and abandon all sorts of rail lines, making the farmer truck his grain to the big terminals. The American multi-nationals Cargill and ADM etc saw this as an excellent opportunity under NAFTA and made their moves accordingly. When they attempted to abandon the CN line at Eston, Bill Woods and the farmers said they would keep the lines open for farmers and fill their own cars. CN said it wouldn’t allow that to happen but Woods took them to court over a 1907 agreement that the railways had to allow farmers the right to use these lines. CN, ADM, Cargill etc were all in it together, just as they are now with Harper to get rid of the CWB.
Viterra, which is owned in part by ADM, will go the same way as CN, and the farmers might be able to put Canadian stickers on their hats, but ” the only flag worth fighting for is the one on the pole.”
Anyway, my point about being a “socialist” is that the use and abuse of language or words can either open or close minds. Because “socialist” has got such a negative and incorrect connotation it simply conjures negative thoughts. Thus there is no acceptable antonym for capitalism. The fact is that we are all socialists and most of us are capitalists. We, like most species, are socialists because it is necessary for us to share resources and cooperate within our tribe or society, in order that our species can survive. It is in our genes to be socialists, and not permit any individual or corporation to control the lion’s share of our common wealth. It is also in our selfish genes to be capitalists, to accrue as much of that wealth as we can, in order to further our own line. The socialist cooperative side of our genes is for the good of the community; the capitalist side is for the good of our family line and the corporation. Unrestrained capitalism is detrimental or lethal to the community, just as unrestrained socialism is detrimental or lethal to the individual. I guess that makes me a social democrat because you need balance between the two desires. My concern is that we have gone way too far in the capitalist direction and takeover by multi-national corporations. My point being that socialist is not a dirty word, and in the Oxford Canadian dictionary it is so narrowly defined as to exclude any other interpretation for what is a legitimate and inherent biological and cultural trait.
(3) CANADIAN PATRIOTIC PROTEST SIMMERS AT CN FACILITY, GLOBE & MAIL, JAN 09, 2009
Canadian patriotic protest simmers at CN facility
by Patrick White
WINNIPEG — Situated in an industrial area 20 minutes east of downtown Winnipeg and populated by burly men in steel-toes and hard hats, Canadian National Railway’s Transcona rail shops seem an uncommon venue for patriotic protest.
But late last year, rail workers at the century-old yard began festooning hats and overalls with Maple Leaf stickers after their American management decided to remove two large Canadian flags from the workplace.
The flags were taken down last summer as part of a general cleaning at the CN facility, which employs roughly 500 workers.
Terry Corson, the Montana-born director of the Transcona shops, says he had the flags removed because “they were filthy, dirty and, quite honestly, a bit of a disgrace.”
But shop workers and their union see the removal as part of a larger shift away from the company’s Canadian roots. Formerly a Crown corporation, CN was privatized in 1995.
“The American influence is pretty strong,” said one worker, who did not want to be identified for fear of reprisal. “Some of the guys figured the stickers would be a good way of letting management know we weren’t too happy with them taking the big flags down.”
Workers first noticed the flags missing in November, several months after Mr. Corson had them unhooked from the car shop rafters during a general cleaning and repainting.
At least two employees approached management to demand the flags be replaced.
“The fellas were told outright that no flags would be going back up,” said Les Lilley, local representative for the shop’s union, Canadian Autoworkers Local 100. “Their American bosses took them down and refused to replace them.”
Mr. Lilley said he has raised the issue with CN management three times to no avail.
“It’s an American company now, run almost totally by Americans,” he said. “There isn’t much you can do.”
As an example of previous efforts to white-out the company’s Canadian identity, Mr. Lilley said workers were asked several years ago to refer to the company only as ‘CN,’ and not Canadian National.
Company officials said the request was part of a larger branding strategy and that “Canadian National Railway Company” remains its proper legal name.
In December, the union approached Elmwood-Transcona MP Jim Maloway about the flag flap. He furnished them with paper flags and lapel pins.
Yesterday evening, workers inside the shops were wearing hard hats plastered with Canada flag stickers, and two small paper flags greeted visitors at the entrance to the wheel shop.
Mr. Corson isn’t backing down from his position. As a former member of the U.S. military, he maintains that flags deserve a more respectful location than a shop ceiling.
“Flags mean a lot to me,” said Mr. Corson, who maintains that the roughly six-foot-by-eight-foot flags also blocked shop lighting. “People die for flags. We have a flag flying at our gates that is there to represent the whole complex.”
The small symbols of protest don’t bother him, he said.
“If they want a flag pin or a flag sticker on a hardhat, that’s fine. That’s not a real flag. The one you fight for is the one that hangs on the pole.”
Mr. Corson was surprised to hear yesterday that the issue was still simmering among his workers. “Besides one or two people coming to me last month, I haven’t heard a peep from them about this.”
- – - – - – - – - – -
Regional Vice President, LES LILLEY
1376 Grant Avenue #110
WINNIPEG, MB R3M 3Y4
Office/bureau: (204) 487-2206
Fax: (204) 487-3026
(4) PRIME MINISTER TRUDEAU AND THE FOREIGN INVESTMENT REVIEW AGENCY (FIRA)
Pierre Elliott Trudeau
Prime Minister: 1968 – 1979; 1980 – 1984
He made some mistakes.
About 60,000 people passed his casket while it lay in state In my lifetime in Canada There has never been Such outpouring So he was loved
For being independent
For standing up for Canada.
Against transnational corporations
The Foreign Investment Review Agency
Meant for us to maintain control of our resources.
Now owned by American financial interests.
As natural resources became depleted in the US American industrial firms seek supplies elsewhere
Thomas Watson, President of IBM during Nazi Europe Wanted the free flow of goods To Germany Germany needed access to resources You need control of natural resources and infrastructure to wage wars To take what is not yours To take power and control Transnational corporations are the vehicle.
(5) FOREIGN INVESTMENT IN CANADA, FROM THE CANADIAN ENCYCLOPEDIA WITH THANKS
The Task Force on Foreign Ownership (Gray Report) was established (1970) under Herb GRAY. Its purpose was to analyse the impact of the high degree of foreign control on the Canadian economy. It also examined policies that would enable Canadians to exercise greater control over their own economic development and to retain and increase Canadian ownership of business where feasible or desirable for economic, social, cultural or other reasons. In the 1960s, foreign control had reached nearly 60% of total Canadian manufacturing, and 90% of industries such as rubber and petroleum.
In 1972 the task force concluded that, in a highly qualified way, FOREIGN INVESTMENT had had a moderately favourable effect overall but that problems did exist, eg, “truncated firms” which performed only a narrow range of activities in Canada and were dependent on foreign technology and management. It suggested that some problems could be handled through general economic policies, eg, tariffs, taxes and patents. It concluded that others would be better solved through administrative intervention on all new foreign investment, case by case, and it rejected a major policy shift, such as a “buy-back” strategy, towards increased Canadian ownership.
The Foreign Investment Review Agency was a federal agency formed by Parliament in 1973 as a result of concerns about foreign presence in the Canadian economy. The agency began screening foreign acquisitions of Canadian businesses in April 1974 and the establishment of new foreign businesses in October 1975. The agency advised the government (through the minister of industry, trade and commerce) on what action should be taken, if any. In making its recommendations, FIRA took the following factors into
consideration: the effect of the investment on employment and economic activity in Canada; the effect on Canadian productivity, technological development and product variety; the degree of Canadian participation in management; the effect on competition; and the compatibility of the investment with national policies.
FIRA was criticized by those concerned about American economic influence because it approved most of the applications it received. The agency was also strongly opposed by many business people, and in December 1984 Sinclair STEVENS, industrial expansion minister, revised its mandate to promote and facilitate investment in Canada by Canadians and foreigners; to undertake research and analysis; to provide policy advice; and to ensure that significant investment by foreigners created a net benefit to Canadians.
There was also a move within the agency to implement special restrictions in cultural industries, eg, book publishing and film production. The name of the agency was changed to Investment Canada in 1985.
Foreign investment in Canada is both direct (made to control enterprises) and portfolio (made only for the interest or dividends paid or the possible capital gain to be achieved). The amount of both types is very large, with the consequence that a considerable fraction of the Canadian ECONOMY is controlled by foreigners (mostly Americans) and the annual interest and dividend payments made to them takes a sizeable fraction of Canada’s income.
In 1995, when the National Income was $558 billion, investment income payments to foreigners totalled $49 billion.
This large foreign presence in the economy, quite unparalleled elsewhere in the world, has deep historic roots. Beginning in the mid-19th century, when Canada was still a British colony, British investors readily supplied capital, chiefly of the portfolio type, that financed construction of canals, railways, urban buildings and public works, in the half century prior to WWI.
Meanwhile, the US was building a huge national economy which would far surpass that of any European country. Its railway network joined all its regions into one immense market, making gigantic industrial plants feasible and profitable. For some of these firms it became desirable to set up distant branch plants that were closer to natural resources or to local markets that could be best served by a local plant. The railway, the telegraph and later the telephone made it possible to exercise effective control over operations far from headquarters.
As natural resources became depleted in the US, American industrial firms sought supplies elsewhere. The first Canadian resource upon which Americans drew heavily was timber, especially that of Québec and Ontario (see TIMBER TRADE HISTORY). American lumbermen came to Canada and built large mills to process lumber for sale in the US. These were not branches of US firms, however; the men who established and owned them eventually became Canadians.
The first significant branch plants were newsprint mills, built by US papermakers. They would have preferred simply to buy logs to feed their already established mills in the US, but provincial governments, anxious to secure jobs and economic development, refused to permit the export of logs from forestlands that they controlled, insisting that American companies build local mills. By 1929, Canada accounted for about 65% of world exports of newsprint; 90% of its output went to the US.
The discovery in the late 19th and early 20th century of valuable minerals (gold, nickel, zinc and other nonferrous metals) created a mining industry in which US and some British capital soon played a commanding role. Gold, found in river bars and surface deposits, was extracted first by individuals using cheap and simple methods and then by large-scale, capital-intensive methods. Established American mining firms set up branches to carry on this type of activity, furnishing skills, capital and experience. From the beginning, base-metal deposits were exploited chiefly by companies established and controlled by US mining corporations.
During the 1920s, US firms in other industries began to operate branches in Canada on a large scale. Manufacturing companies set up branch plants to serve the Canadian market, thereby avoiding high freight costs and import duties. Also, US-owned branch plants benefited from the fact that products made in Canada were admitted at preferential tariff rates to other British Empire countries. New variety and grocery-store chains built stores in many cities. By 1930, US direct investment in Canada was more than 5 times that of the United Kingdom.
The 1929 stock market crash and the GREAT DEPRESSION brought practically all forms of foreign investment to a standstill that lasted throughout WWII.
Following WWII, US investment resumed in Canada. American industrial corporations undertook enormous mining projects and, following the discovery of the Leduc oil pool (1947), US firms spent enormous sums on oil and gas exploration, and on pipelines and refineries. The increasing population and its growing affluence made the Canadian market highly attractive to US firms. More manufacturers of consumer products set up branches, as did retail and financial firms and suppliers of equipment and services required by business firms.
Conceivably, goods and services produced in the branch plants of US firms could have been provided by Canadian-owned enterprises, but US firms had the enormous advantage of much greater capital and experience and strongly established, valuable connections. US-owned plants in Canadian resource industries had absolutely reliable markets, as parent plants in the US bought all their products. Many US-manufactured products were already well known in Canada, thanks to the wide circulation here of US publications, in which those products were advertised, and the extensive travel and visitation in the US by Canadians. Branch plants tended to buy equipment and materials from their parent organizations or from the US firms that regularly supplied their parents. Canadian-owned firms inevitably could not compete effectively against American branch plants that had these advantages.
Presumably the role of US-controlled firms in the economy would not have grown so rapidly if authorities had restricted it or had provided special assistance to Canadian-owned firms, but they were anxious to achieve as much economic development as possible and were unconcerned by the large increase in US participation in the economy. As a matter of principle, they treated US-owned and Canadian-owned firms with absolute impartiality. In a relatively small number of instances, a foreign firm licensed Canadian firms to use TECHNOLOGY that it had developed so that goods and services based on these new technologies were produced in Canadian-owned establishments.
In addition to setting up branch plants in Canada, US firms bought established Canadian firms, incorporating them into their organizations.
Many Canadian businesses were sold to US corporations for considerably more than they would have received from Canadian buyers. As a result of all these considerations, US direct investment of $3.4 billion in 1950 was over 30 times that figure by the end of 1995. Some of this increase was attributable to INFLATION, but a large portion of it reflected increased ownership of physical assets in Canada.
Although US-owned firms initiated the production here of many novel products and services and provided welcome job opportunities, there have been – and still are – problems caused by their presence. Huge and increasing amounts of money have to be remitted to US owners in the form of dividends on their investment and contributions by branch plants toward head office costs of administration, research, product development and advertising. A large proportion of these payments must be made in US dollars; where payment in US dollars is not required by contract, the investors, receiving payment in Canadian dollars, wish to exchange them for US currency. The consequence is that a very large fraction of the US dollars that Canada earns by its exports must be used to make interest and dividend payments and branch plant remittances to US firms. The amount of US dollar earnings left after these payments are made has often been insufficient to pay for all imports, obliging Canada to borrow abroad – and thereby increase the amount of interest that will have to be paid to foreigners in the future.
MULTINATIONAL CORPORATIONS carried on their Canadian operations to serve their own best interests, not those of Canada. INDUSTRIAL RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT, essential to industrial innovation and growth and providing highly desirable job opportunities, was generally done not in Canadian branch plants but in US facilities. When demand for the products of some international companies fell, they would reduce the scale of operations or close down the Canadian branch while maintaining operations in the parent plant. When an international firm uncovered a cheaper source of supplies or labour in another country, it might close down its Canadian operation.
The presence of giant, foreign-owned companies made it difficult for the government to stabilize the economy. Possessing great financial power and having wide international interests, these firms could not be induced or pressured to alter the tempo of their Canadian operations to help keep the economy on an even keel. Being subject to American legislation that forbade US firms and their affiliates to trade with US enemies, plants here could not export their products to some countries with which Canada had normal trade relationships. Corporate strategy frequently had the same consequences; branch plants were generally designed to serve the domestic Canadian market and lacked the resources or mandate necessary to develop and to sell products in export markets.
Aside from economic concerns, many Canadians (see COMMITTEE FOR AN INDEPENDENT CANADA; COUNCIL OF CANADIANS) objected on nationalistic grounds to the scale of FOREIGN OWNERSHIP and control over the economy (see ECONOMIC NATIONALISM). The federal government responded in the 1960s with new legislation forbidding foreigners to own radio and television stations (see CULTURAL POLICY); and with restrictions on foreigners’ rights to set up banks, insurance companies and other financial concerns; to enlarge established firms; to participate in the exploration of oil, gas and mineral deposits or to acquire uranium mines. In 1973 the federal government established the FOREIGN INVESTMENT REVIEW AGENCY (FIRA) to screen investments by nonresidents, approving only those that would clearly be of benefit to Canada.
The federal government also created the CANADA DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION
(1971) and PETRO-CANADA (1974), both of which reduced foreign control by buying out a number of large, foreign-owned concerns. The NDP government of Saskatchewan bought out foreign-owned potash firms. In 1980 the Canadian government introduced its NATIONAL ENERGY PROGRAM, under which it accorded special privileges and financial incentives to Canadian-owned and -controlled firms in the oil and gas industry, prompting the takeover by Canadians of a number of foreign-owned firms. By the early 1980s the proportion of manufacturing, mining, oil and gas industries under foreign control was significantly smaller than it had been a decade earlier.
These measures and actions to limit foreign ownership raised controversy.
Businesses that profited from dealing with foreign-owned firms objected, and exponents of private enterprise decried the increasing role of the government in the economy. Provincial politicians, anxious for development that would broaden local economies and add to local employment, objected to federal restrictions that prevented such development. The US government protested against Canadian investment policies and threatened retaliatory action against Canadian firms operating in the US.
While FIRA approved about 90% of the foreign-investment proposals that it reviewed, and was not a significant barrier to foreign ownership, it was angrily criticized for its occasional rejections and sometimes lengthily delayed decisions. In response to the criticisms, the Liberal federal government began to loosen the restrictions. The Conservative administration of PM Brian Mulroney, elected in September 1984, indicated that it planned to extend its reduction of barriers to foreign investment in Canada, and in
1984 it dismantled FIRA, replacing it with Investment Canada, an agency that would welcome foreign investment rather than obstruct or delay it.
As of the end of 1995 foreign investment in Canada totalled $672 billion.
Half was by Americans, with 40% of their investment being direct, and therefore conferring control over business operations. Since success in these operations typically depended on the application of expertise developed in the US, Americans insisted on control. Only 16% of non-American investment in Canada was direct, reflecting the lesser role in the Canadian economy of non-American business firms and the large purchases of Canadian government bonds by non-Americans in recent years.
Foreign ownership of agricultural land and urban real estate is also important. British investors acquired large Canadian holdings in the 19th century and continued to buy and sell Canadian properties in the 20th century. Europeans, particularly West Germans and Italians, acquired large amounts of agricultural land in the 1960s and 1970s, prompting provincial governments to pass legislation restricting the acquisition of land by nonresidents. Hong Kong investors acquired a considerable number of urban properties in the 1980s; however, the total value of foreign investment in Canadian real estate is still only a small fraction of foreign investment in Canadian stocks and bonds.
In 1986 the federal government introduced the Immigrant Investor Program under which a foreigner who invested at least $150 000 in Canada, and left it here for a minimum of 3 years, would thereby qualify for Canadian citizenship. (The figure was raised to $250 000 in 1990.) Intended to generate jobs, the program has, so far, attracted relatively little foreign money and generated relatively few jobs.
The flow of investment funds has not been entirely one-way. Canadians have set up branch plants in foreign countries and made portfolio-type investments in foreign stocks and bonds. In 1995 Canada paid out $49 billion in interest income to foreigners but we received only $16 billion from Canadian investments abroad. What’s more, in no foreign country does Canadian investment play a dominant role. Canada’s largest foreign investment, which is in the US, gives Canadians control over only a minute portion of the US economy, in contrast to the very large fraction of the Canadian economy that is controlled by American interests.
Author RUBEN C. BELLAN