Mr. Speaker, a government that is incapable of destroying non-state coercive actors is as harmful to the cause of freedom as is a coercive state. We live in a time when our friends and our enemies are becoming more clear, our strategic resources and assets are under more threat to be taken over by foreign entities, and at a time when refining our future, growth, potential and lack of industrial policy will threaten Canada's economic future. Safeguarding the resources we have that will also attract good investments has become paramount not only to the success of our country but also to the success of our children.
After eight years of the Liberal-NDP government, numerous foreign state-owned enterprises have acquired interest and control in many Canadian companies, our IP, intangible assets and data. Billions of dollars of Canadian natural resources, ideas, IP, land and farms have left Canada and are being controlled by foreign entities. It reminds me of the story of the The Giving Tree, which I sometimes read to my children. After eight years, the Prime Minister and the industry minister have been like the giving tree, giving of Canada's industry, IP and land. In the story, there is a little boy who comes to a tree and asks for its leaves, and the tree gives him its leaves. Of course, in January 2022, the industry minister failed to follow his own guidelines when he fast-tracked the takeover of a Canadian lithium company, Neo Lithium Corp., by Chinese state-owned Zijin Mining Group without a national security review. Of course, we lost those leaves. It was one of the only companies in Canada that produced lithium, which is critical for producing batteries.
Huawei, a state-owned enterprise that feeds intelligence directly to China, was still working with many Canadian universities as of the summer. This is just like the boy who asked for the trunk of the tree and was given it. The government has also made commitments of billions of dollars to Volkswagen, Stellantis and other battery plants with literally all of the mined material composing the batteries coming from state-owned Chinese companies and not Canadian-owned critical minerals or mines. As we see, these are the branches of the tree, and the industry minister came to Canada with these branch plants. Taxpayer-funded dollars at Dalhousie University are funding Tesla IP and research, and the IP is all going back to California. As members can see, this is the stump of the tree.
As at the end of The Giving Tree story, when the little boy had asked for all of these items: the branches, leaves, trunk and stump, Canadians are left with nothing as all of these companies, foreign-owned and foreign-controlled, have left Canada, and we are left with only the roots. As Canada loses literally billions of dollars, IP and resources, the government and the giving tree of a Prime Minister are literally not worth the cost; these investments go elsewhere, and Canadians do not benefit from the outcomes. The future of our country, Canada, is in protecting our sovereignty, land, farms, natural resources, technological assets in IP while simultaneously attracting foreign investment that benefits Canadians and this country. It is imperative that we demand transparency and accountability from our government regarding foreign ownership and its consequences.
We must advocate policies that strike a balance between attracting international investment and safeguarding our national interests. We need regulations that prevent the unchecked outflow of intellectual property and ensure that our economic landscapes remain robust and sustainable for generations to come. We must be able to produce the stuff in Canada, getting international investment benefiting Canada and Canadians, creating powerful paycheques and GDP right here in this nation. With a new Indo-Pacific strategy aimed at countering a disruptive China, which includes military, domestic security and cybersecurity enhancements, we must ensure that we restrict the involvement of foreign-state-owned firms in some of our most critical sectors, including Canada's critical mineral sectors.
Conservatives looked at Bill C-34 and submitted amendments, including an amendment to reduce the threshold that would trigger a national security review from $512 million to zero dollars for all state-owned enterprises, and I am glad the amendment went through. We ensured that the items reviewable under the national security review process would include acquisitions of any assets by a state-owned enterprise. Finally, we believe that decisions need to be made that would allow cabinet, not one minister alone, to make those important decisions as to what should be reviewed and what should not. No power should reside in one just minister. As famously said by Kanye West:
No one man should have all that power
The clock's ticking, I just count the hours.
The one thing that the Americans and the U.K. do differently with national security reviews is utilize all of their federal departments in the process. The U.S.A. uses CFIUS, an international committee authorized to review certain transactions involving foreign investment. The U.S.A. gives the criteria that CFIUS considers, oftentimes directed by the President of the United States. In Canada, under the current bill, that power would be delineated to the INDU committee and the public safety ministers instead of making sure, at the very least, it is a cabinet decision.
That would severely hamper our national security. Why? In 2017, the Liberal government allowed a telecom company from B.C. called Norsat to be acquired by a company called Hytera, which is a Chinese-based, state-owned company. Hytera does not make any money. The Conservatives demanded, at the time, a full national security review. The Liberal minister of the day refused to do one and approved the acquisition.
Lo and behold, in 2022, Hytera was charged with 21 counts of espionage in the United States and was banned from doing business there. Only eight months later, the RCMP in Canada, shockingly, bought telecommunications equipment from Hytera to put in its communications system. The government says the change would streamline the process and give security and intelligence agencies more time to complete their reviews, but, as it currently stands, if the public safety minister only is responsible for those reviews, they would miss the mark, as they did with Hytera.
I have another example, more hypothetically. What if the industry minister was from Ontario and the public safety minister was from Manitoba and they were about to make a decision about a security review in Quebec? Would Quebec cabinet ministers not want to be guaranteed feedback and a say in cabinet? If we give that power to just one minister and take away the power of cabinet, ministers across the whole country would potentially lose providing their input into something as important as national security.
I have shared with my colleagues the satisfaction of seeing intangible assets included under this review. I wanted to mention this today because it is very important. There are alarming statistics about how much of our intellectual property leaves this country. The University of Waterloo said that 75% of its software engineering grads are being pilfered and leave Canada to go elsewhere. The U.S. has 169 times the IP production of Canada. Canada produces $39 billion worth of IP a year, but the U.S. produces $6.6 trillion. Not only do we need to develop and commercialize the IP, but through this legislation we also need to protect it. It is very important, as the economy of tomorrow is intangible and full of ideas, that we do all we can to ensure we protect the ideas that come out of Canada, and not lose them.
We have the largest gaps in the world. The OECD has forecasted that Canada will have one of the worst-performing economies in the developed world in the next 25 years. Canada has not been able to keep up with the world when it comes to IP and a knowledge-based economy. Canadian policy is still firmly grounded in industrial-era concepts and is failing to develop national strategies for IP and data.
China developed 30,000 patents just last year in Al. Canada has developed fewer than 30,000 patents in all of our industries across all sectors.
The future of Canada needs to be protected in the airwaves, blockchain, Al, quantum computing, the sky overhead and the Arctic. It needs to be protected in our farms, food-processing plants, genomics, oceans and fisheries, as well as in developing Canadian LNG, which the world is desperately screaming for.
Going back to The Giving Tree story, unlike the government, figuratively and literally, the Conservatives would just plant more trees and protect those trees. When we give the world what Canada makes, Canadians make paycheques and Canadians benefit.
Let us agree to support this bill with the Conservative amendment to remove the power from one minister and make sure it stays in cabinet. Of course, in the future, a Conservative government will not only protect Canadian investment but build Canadian companies and attract investment to grow them.