Winnipeg Free Press Newspaper Archives Apr 17 1986, Page 14

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Winnipeg Free Press (Newspaper) - April 17, 1986, Winnipeg, Manitoba Focus wlft9wp09 r Fml pms Apfell Eric Odowd in Ontario do corporate takeovers leave any room for the average Canadian investor pcs lesson takeovers pose hard problem gut Lawson Hunter is that its going to be hard to find an adequate justification for government intervention in corporate nor would it be added the former head of Canadas combines now a private sector Law to find a Means of doing so that makes sense from a policy Point of View or that would not have unanticipated costs associated with he was responding in an inter View to questions about the opportunities open to government to intervene to or at least takeovers of one corporate giant by there is a feeling among canadians that the government should be Tak ing some the concern is political and even social More than As Hunter himself quickly Points what most bothers canadians is that so much Power should rest in so few hands that eight or nine families in the Case of widely held a handful of managers should exert control Over so Large a chunk of the a subordinate which some experts is that the overriding presence of these groups in the capital marketplace Means that Ordinary canadians have less Opportunity to share in the benefits of the nations opposition Leader John Turner raised a third concern the other Day in the suggesting that the presence of these Gigantic corporations makes it difficult for Small entrepreneurial firms to establish themselves in the Market Turner did not say it would be valuable to have this thought pursued in More it would seem this particular con Cern applies More to the presence in the marketplace of Large single sector operators like supermarkets or other than to the exis Tince of whose holdings Span several none of would have any doubt that great or Access to gives individuals great Power to influence human Joan Cohen Ottawa editor Public As Well As a Power to make things As one observer has put and the disturbing aspect of this Power is not merely that it exists but that is exerted in so that the rest of us usually do not know strings Are being or when John head of a multimillion Dollar phones the prime will he take the we Are not going to see it but does anyone doubt that it does one of the very few cases where we received direct testimony that the prime minister did was in the Case of the notorious Bill s31 a few years ago that would have blocked additional share purchases of up by Quebec Caisse de depot Public pension up chairman Burbidge later admitted hav ing personally lobbied the prime minister to produce such Legisla it was later quietly in a remarkable presentation in Ottawa a few months Cadiz la Fairview president Bernard chert offered a Long dissertation on corporate its extent and its potential his arguments offer a Strong rebuttal to those who argue for the concept of Power is a difficult one to Deal with is both Complex and highly Subjec he said at one Howe it is not merely philosophical or esoteric what do we mean by Power first Power May be defined As the ability to produce intended effects in Max Weber stated that Power is the possibility of exerting ones will upon the behaviour of other persons including those who Are reluctant or Adverse it is in the absence of any controls Over conglomerate that within a decade or so both the financial and no Finan Cial sectors will dominated by less than a dozen very Large groups which will Span both As is the Case in these groups could Wield enor Mous economic Power which could be used to alter the behaviour of other firms by advancing the interests of some customers or sup pliers and penalizing others by undermining the position of rivals and by using economic Power to influence Public policy via the Polit ical such Power exists and can be wielded this is not a nor Philosophi Cal on the of whether the nine families Are be coming increasingly dominant in the Stock Market it would not be hard to obtain at least some evidence of what is for the ratio of their holdings can be compared to the float on the Stock the amount of the float is published by the and represents the portion of outstanding publicly traded shares which Are not con tooled by the Hunters former colleague Don Mckinley has shown that among the elite group of companies listed As part of the tse 300 the proportion in the Public hands is is it important that Small Cana Dian investors have Access to equity investment the bureaucrats in it probably matters a great Deal to it is the Way Many canadians participate directly in the wealth and growth of the in their yet even if it is acknowledged that this latest takeover spree among the giants poses a it May not be easy to find a course of Over at the Bureau of Competition acting director Cappe warns that if the major companies Are blocked from corporate takeovers Here they will simply put their Money into invest the end will be a lower Dollar and less growth for Cana Lawson Hunter notes that one often suggested route would be to rescind the tax Law that permits companies to deduct As a business expenditure interest payments on Loans used for corporate take but he reminds us that this provision was brought in the Early because the americans were allowed such and they then had an enormous advantage Over canadians in Tak ing Over Canadian drop the and the old problem could Large corporate takeovers could be subject to review by a who would be mandated to approve takeovers in the Public in it is not a particularly pleasant the history of that other investment review the Unla rented f1ra is a warning against that discretionary Type of approach to the where would be buyers find themselves trying to second guess the bureaucracy and Are subjected to extraordinary amounts of paper work and red Cappe agrees that if canadians wanted to bring in a Law that would simply ban takeovers of a Given size by Large conglomerates the Legal drafters would have no Trou ble writing a still most people would agree such a Law does sound for All kinds of there is the possibility of bringing in special disclosure re so the activities of conglomerates Are relatively trans Parent and we know More about what they Are up to one a very impressive there is the possibility of restricting the conglomerates new purchases 10 per cent of certain types of corporate not quite the kind of limitation one had in some bureaucrats do seem to have a bit of a Builtin Bias in favor of particularly those controlled by a family or tightly held for sees the Opportunity for corporate take overs As imposing a discipline on the when a company is not run Well and its performance its shares can be bought up relatively that where the corporate entrepreneur comes he moves dumps the existing and puts in a Hotshot new the consumer Bene fits by getting More for his the profits the new corporate owner begins banking the pro and so do other share the proposed takeover of Gen whose owners and head office operations Are located in san fran follows this classic though the presence of the powerful Canada Trust among its holdings represents the other Side of the it would follow then that if can Adas conglomerate giants were somehow banned from taking Over other corporate then companies suffering from lax manage ment would either slip into the hands of gradually break or in some Way die lingering Cappe distinguishes the closely held and their aggressive owners and from the widely held Type like where the manager has no one breathing Down his i think up has fairly Well respected manage he without that extra incentive to the corporate managers do not set the world on a final note a much higher pro portion of Canadas corporate assets Are controlled by conglomerates than is the Case in the which can afford to be More Blase about its own wave of no one knows what makes the difference second of two lost on grits Toronto the Liberal govern ment appears to have Learned Noth ing from the failure of the Progress Ive conservatives Over More than a decade to win the respect and sup port of the so called ethnic Mitt the office of citizenship and Cul Ture minister Lily Munro has circulated a discussion paper on possible future policies which fell As the most ludicrous of such documents have a habit of doing into the hands of an tory of Multi cultural ism spokesman Yuri shy the paper suggested the thought uppermost in the minds of on tartans not of British or French backgrounds is maintaining their cultures language and Fine and per forming it piling More Money into funding Folk arts and the it also wants All Toronto Liber Al Cabinet ministers put on show at All ethnic events in metropolitan where the biggest concentrations of ethnic voters As proof of the liberals esteem for and similar the discussion paper showed Little recognition that the Basic aspirations of those not of British or French whether immigrants or born Are much the same As the rest of the ethnic residents Are most interested in improved opportunities for hous health services and the a recent Federal Survey showed them listing their first priority As economic betterment language and culture ranked Way where they do have special con these Are not so much in Folk dancing and arts festivals things it is easy for politicians to throw a few dollars at As in real issues which affect them Day by these special concerns for improved compensation for Job because they tend to be particularly in hazardous occupations greater status in the Community for people like them particularly the Opportunity to serve in Public posts stronger Protection against racial particularly for Blacks and asians and better Job opportunities and conditions for immigrant usually the most underpaid group in the conservatives under former Premier William Davis mostly paid lip service to such ambitions and too often preferred the route of funding ethnic Davis made a great show of his interest in ethnic communities by setting up a much touted advisory Council on but to the Chagrin of people like Shymko ignored most of its More worthwhile the for moved far too slowly to put ethnic representatives on government boards and commissions Davis had too Many no ethnic friends to the conservatives had a pretty even share in the largely ethnic Ridings in Toronto 15 years but it gradually declined and they can now boast no More than two out of the new democratic which has taken a More serious interest in the concerns of ethnic has become he dominant Force in the ethnic currently holding five a lesson from which the liberals could Pawley plays it Safe with largest Ever Cabinet although the adage states everything comes to those who politicians know that some May never get what they in Howard Hawleys new net of 2j almost everyone received or will receive since the guesses have been made about whether there would be a new Cabinet or merely a filling of the gaps left by the retirement defeat of former was Pawley Brave enough to actually overhaul his inner Circle or was he too afraid to alter the status quo in fear of demoted and disenchanted individuals Leav ing caucus and sitting As independents when a party holds a Strong that situation does not pose a that was apparent during the last term when Henry Carroll and Russ Doern left the but the government still had nine seats More than the at a different and potentially dangerous situation if two unhappy new democrats the caucus will be reduced to Only 28 people and since one of those will be the government would be in a precarious with Only one seat More than the some were because Lack of change implies indecision or unmerited the government needed new blow and amid the seven new caucus members were potential but that meant a difficult decision for the should he give precedence to the novices Over Veteran backbench ers would that decision anger those who were left perhaps enough to desert the party changes were also needed in the positions of speaker and government House Leader because of the premiers Alltop apparent displeasure with Jim Walding and the defeat i under the dome Arlene Billinkoff of Andy both positions have in creased importance because of the Dps slim majority and require experience and an ability to those choices May have been the most that May explain Why the Premier waited so Long before he opted for what hopefully would be the Middle Road although a few veterans received less no one was removed from the while another four including three bran new moved into the decision making most of the appointments were for the past few Vic Schroeder has expressed a desire to leave the finance port Folio and probably welcomed taking Over Trade and upwardly Mobile Eugene who had held that gained responsibility for both finance and the Treasury reflecting Hawleys belief that he was one of the More competent similar comments were not made about Maureen who traded education with former business development and tourism minister Jerry for it was a a Mackling also received increased duties with the addition of con Sumer affairs to his labor while John Buck Laschuk took Over municipal As for the most welcomed the the appointment of Caw doer As minister of Urban Leonard Harapiak to natural resources and Judy Wasyly Ciales to Cul heritage and status of women and could understand the logic of making Elijah Harper a minister without portfolio responsible for native some was expressed about the omission of who will will be one of Only eight while he May receive additional stipends As chairman of a Board or it is not the same the omission was not Retalia insisted the who had been exceedingly unhappy with Walding refusal to end the Bell ringing during the bilingualism he is the same As All the others who were not Only time will Tell whether Walding will accept that decision in but Gary Filmon has indicated that while he will not actively solicit anyone to Cross the the former speaker would be the said it was unfair to believe that Walding would a number of people were not in he there were Many factors to be no those factors were considered when Jay Cowan was appointed As House while his loss of responsibility for the Treasury Board appeared to be a both Pawley and Filmon admitted that the House leadership will be crucial in the coming based on previous expert Filmon was pleased by the appoint ment and hoped Cowan would be a consensus builder and handle business he was less optimistic about the new speaker Myrna Given her performance in the when she was noted for her antagonistic relationship with the the Leader was concerned about her Strong partisan he intended to wait and see How fair she would a similar approach would be taken to the newcomers and he would give them an Opportunity to show what they Are doing before passing As for the Cabinet in Filmon regarded the the largest in provincial As it was not the Way to he but it was the premiers the Premier did have a Choice and this Cabinet will not be the last there were at least four Cabinet changes during the Previ Ous As Pawley performances would be assessed and reorganization was possible after the there May Well be changes Down the Road if the govern ment can get Down that Road in one awl by Garry Trudeau Aff Tawf continue with this Sori Pattiz or few Ewe Kwh is us to Stopani question the of a a ust of names Cou you6ettih6 Story in All Guys who t t t

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