TORONTO/OTTAWA, March 30 /CNW/ - The Canadian Auto Workers union and the
Rideau Institute publicly released a letter written by their legal counsel
calling upon Industry Minister Jim Prentice to release information regarding
the purchase of MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates' (MDA) important Canadian
space information systems, including RADARSAT-2 and the maker of the Canadarm
by U.S.-based Alliant Techsystems (ATK).
Citing procedures regarding "Third Party Representations" which are set
out under the Department's Guidelines - Administrative Procedures issued
pursuant to section 38 of the Investment Canada Act, the letter calls upon the
- to seek permission from ATK to release any undertakings the U.S firm
made to the government in support of its application;
- to describe steps taken by the department in evaluating the
compatibility of ATK's application with other Canadian government
- which departments, provinces and territories have been consulted about
the application, as required by the Investment Canada Act.
While the groups commend the Minister's decision to allow more time to
consider the consequences of approving the controversial sale of MDA, they
remain steadfast in opposing the sale and cite a legal opinion by Steven
Shrybman of Sack Goldblatt Mitchell LLP, that the "proposed sale is contrary
to Canada's interests and cannot reasonably be approved under the Investment
A full text of the letter is available below.
March 27, 2008
The Honourable Jim Prentice
Minister of Industry
House of Commons
Dear Minister Prentice;
Re: MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Proposed Sale to Alliant
Further to our letter of March 20, 2008, we want to commend your decision
to allow more time to consider the consequences of approving the proposed
sale by MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates (MDA) of certain Information
Systems and Geospatial Services operations to Alliant Techsystems (ATK).
As noted in our previous letter, it is the position of our clients, the
Rideau Institute and the Canadian Auto Workers, that the proposed sale is
contrary to Canada's interests and cannot reasonably be approved under
the Investment Canada Act (the "Act").
In light of the opportunity this extension provides, we want to make
additional representations to those we have already submitted to you and
your colleague, the Minister of Foreign Affairs.
To begin with, we want to indicate in this regard that we are relying
upon the Department's Guidelines - Administrative Procedures (the
"Guidelines"), issued pursuant to s. 38 of the Act, that contemplate
unsolicited representations from third parties, and require these to be
brought to the Applicant's attention if "that could have an adverse
bearing on the determination of net benefit." Accordingly, as part of
your review of this proposed sale under the Act, please consider this
letter and our previous correspondence to be such third party
representations. Moreover, as we are making our submissions public, there
is no need to keep the source of our concerns in confidence.
This is also to advise of our intention to make further submissions,
which we would also expect you to share with the Applicants.
For this purpose we are writing to request that you provide, or seek the
right to share, the following information:
- undertakings made by ATK in support of its application; and any
submissions it has, or will make, in response to our intervention. We
understand that ATK's consent is required for this information to be
shared with us, and hereby ask that you seek that consent;
- a description of the steps taken by your Department to meet the
obligations set out by s. 20(e) of the Act, which require that you
consider "the compatibility of the investment with national
industrial, economic, and cultural policies, taking into consideration
industrial, economic and cultural policy objectives enunciated by the
government or legislature of any province likely to be significantly
affected by the investment;" and
- the policies you have considered and the federal departments and the
provincial and territorial governments you have consulted as part of
this "compatibility" analysis.
Given the tight timelines for your review, we would ask for your reply
and the information we seek by April 4, 2008, so that we might formulate
further submissions in time for these too to be shared with ATK for its
For the sake of explaining both the direct and broader public interest
our clients have in this matter we provide the following thumbnail
description of these interests. We would be happy to provide you with a
more complete description if that would be helpful:
The Rideau Institute is an independent research, advocacy, and
consulting group based in Ottawa, with expertise in defence and
space policy. The Rideau Institute provided expert testimony in
2005 to the Commons Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and
International Trade on RADARSAT-2 and Bill C-25, which became the
Remote Sensing Space Systems Act, and appeared in March 2008
before the Commons Standing Committee on Industry, Science and
Technology regarding the proposed sale of part of MDA to ATK.
The Canadian Auto Workers is the largest private sector union in
Canada and represents MDA workers in Brampton, Ontario and St.
Anne de Bellevue, Quebec, whose interests would be affected by the
proposed sale and should be considered in any analysis of net
Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.
CC: Maxime Bernier
For further information:
For further information: Steve Staples, Rideau Institute, (cell) (613)
290-2695; or Steven Shrybman, Sack Goldblatt Mitchell, (cell) (613) 858-6842;
or Angelo DiCaro, CAW communications, (cell) (416) 606-6311