On July 15, 2013, Prime Minister Stephen Harper appointed the Honourable James Moore as Minister of Industry. As Industry Minister, Mr. Moore will be responsible for approving foreign non-cultural investment proposals under the Investment Canada Act. Mr. Moore previously served as Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages holding that post since October, 2008.
James Moore was born in New Westminster, British Columbia and is a former radio broadcaster. Running for the Canadian Alliance Party (which merged with the Progressive Conservative Party in 2003 to form the Conservative Party of Canada), he was first elected to the House of Commons in 2000 and, at the age of 24, was the youngest member of Parliament ever elected in the Province of British Columbia.
Moore brings to his new Cabinet post previous experience with the Investment Canada Act. As the former Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages, Moore was responsible for making decisions with respect to foreign investment proposals involving Canadian cultural businesses. He approved Simon & Schuster Canada's proposal to commence full publishing operations in Canada as well as Apple's proposal to establish iBookstore Canada, Random House of Canada’s proposal to acquire Canadian publisher McClelland & Stewart and Penguin and Random House's proposal to merge in Canada. These decisions could be viewed as a liberalization of Canada's existing policies regarding the book publishing industry and foreign involvement in that industry. He was also involved in approving the establishment of Target’s new Canadian operations which required Investment Canada approval because they would involve the distribution of Canadian cultural products. In connection with that approval, Target committed to investing more than $3.5 billion in capital investment in Canada and to making available and promoting Canadian culture.
In response to a question raised in the House of Commons by the Leader of the Opposition, Thomas Mulcair, regarding the criteria to be used in reviewing the 2012 CNOCC bid for Nexen under the Investment Canada Act, Mr. Moore stated:
“Our government understands what is important: encouraging the entire world to do business responsibly. We have not yet made a decision on this issue but will always make decisions in the best interests of Canada. We are committed to that. We have the Investment Canada Act, which we use to ensure that the best interests of Canadians are always the primary concern of the Government of Canada.”
With the appointment of James Moore as Minister of Industry, Industry Canada receives an experienced Minister both in general terms and, in particular, with respect to the administration of the Investment Canada Act. The appointment of the new Minister does not appear to signal any change in the manner that the Act has recently been administered by the Conservative Party of Canada. For the Investment Canada Act, it appears that it will be business as usual despite the change in ministers.