Saturday, March 04, 2017

Government Consulting Canadians on a possible Canada-China free trade agreement

"The Government of Canada is asking the Canadian public and interested Canadian stakeholders to help define Canada’s interests in a possible FTA with China, and identify ways of maximizing the economic and social benefits of such an agreement. We want to hear from you and we commit to providing feedback on what we are hearing from you. The Government of Canada is committed to hearing from Canadians on this important subject and will ensure that Canadians continue to have the opportunity to provide their views as we engage with China, including through additional consultations in the event that Canada and China decide to move to formal FTA negotiations."

Comment from me: The key is how seriously the consultations will be taken by my Government. I really do wonder about this.

Friday, February 17, 2017

My Opinion Piece on Canada-China Free Trade Published in Globe and Mail today

China sees similar advantage in weaning Canada away from our economic and political alliance with the United States, but it also expects to get compromises that further its regime interests. Canada has already ceded ground on this, making recent concessions – with no promise whatsoever of reciprocal considerations –  to ease limits on Chinese state investment in Canada; seize and repatriate assets of certain Chinese nationals in Canada; and (inexplicably) reverse a national security review that prevented a Beijing-backed concern from buying Canadian advanced laser technology with military application for directed-energy weapons that China is desperate to develop.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

My Opinion Piece on Trump-Canada-China

Today, Xi Jinping’s regime is militarily aggressive and much more demanding of nations where China has established economic leverage through strategic trade and investment agreements.

More China in the Canadian economy appears to be Canada’s future as the U.S. lapses into protectionism. In trying to negotiate a free trade with China, a key issue for Canada will be, do we have to negotiate away our commitment to Canadian liberal and democratic values to get the deal?

Canadian citizen seized from Hong Kong

Chinese billionaire seized from Hong Kong

In a statement posted on the WeChat account of the Tomorrow Group, published on Tuesday and purportedly from Mr Xiao, said he was overseas for medical treatment and would return “soon”.

In the statement, which was subsequently deleted by censors, he denied he had been “abducted to the mainland”. He said he was a Canadian citizen and Hong Kong permanent resident who was protected by the Canadian consulate and Hong Kong law. He added that he “had never harmed the interests of the country” or “supported any opposition organisation”.

. . .

It is common for Chinese businesspeople and others detained by China’s powerful security apparatus to be pressed to release messages through social media, email or via their families insisting that all is fine.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

United States Congress set to introduce Hong Kong human rights act ‘in coming days’

"The law would require the US president to identify persons responsible for the surveillance, abduction, detention or forced confessions of booksellers and journalists in Hong Kong or other actions suppressing basic freedoms, and to freeze their US-based assets and deny them entry into the country."

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Tibet protesters detained in Swiss capital during Xi Jinping visit

Jiang questioned Swiss leaders' control over their country and remarked that they risked "losing a good friend".
China and Switzerland forged a free trade agreement in 2014 and Swiss companies count China among their most important markets.

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

My Opinion piece in the Globe and Mail: "Enlisting Beijing to help stop fentanyl exports won’t be easy"

"For students of Chinese history, there’s irony in Canada’s demand on moral grounds that China suppress the export of a synthetic opioid. In the 19th century, opium addiction in China was rampant, and the opium was almost entirely imported into China from British India. In response, China implemented the world’s earliest drug laws, making the sale, import and consumption of opium illegal."

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

The Prime Minister’s private meetings with China

When CSIS Director Michel Coulombe appeared before the Senate Committee on National Security and Defence earlier this year, his briefing notes raised serious concerns about China targeting Canada’s “government officials and systems.”

Now we have news reports emerging that Justin Trudeau attended a cash-for-access event last May at the Toronto mansion of a Chinese-Canadian executive (‘Trudeau attended fundraiser with Chinese billionaires’; Globe and Mail, Nov. 22). Was our own prime minister one of the government officials the CSIS boss was referring to?

Attendees at the Toronto fundraiser reportedly included citizens of the People’s Republic of China, who by Canadian law cannot donate funds to Canadian political parties. Apparently this sufficiently concerned a senior Liberal Party official that photos from the event were anonymously passed to the press in a plain brown envelope.  

The Prime Minister’s official itinerary for May 19 reads “private meetings.” At the private event, the flag of China was displayed alongside that of Canada, and the guest list included senior officials of Chinese state institutions, Chinese billionaires with serious money to invest, and people involved in an application to establish the Wealth One Bank of Canada, whose purpose is given as “to serve Chinese people (huaren).”

Zhang Bin, a Chinese citizen who facilitated a $1-million donation to the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation (including funds to be used to erect a statue of the Prime Minister’s father) was also present.

One consequence of Donald Trump’s election as US president will be more opportunities for China's Communist regime to expand its influence with the Government of Canada. It is very likely that Mr. Trump will enact measures early in his term that will negatively impact Canada’s economy by restricting our access to US markets.  If our economy sputters because of Mr. Trump’s isolationist policy, Ottawa will look hard at other foreign partners to make up for lost growth. Chinese state investment will be waiting, and with their negotiating position much improved thanks to Mr. Trump, Beijing will undoubtedly seek to exact a political price that Canada has until now not been prepared to pay.

What this means is that, to get Chinese state investment, Canada must not “hurt the feelings of the Chinese people” (the standard Chinese regime phrase) by standing up for humans rights of people in Hong Kong, Taiwan, ethnic minorities in China and human rights defence lawyers in China, many of whom are in prison on trumped-up charges. They will also want Ottawa to deport back to China any Chinese nationals who are in Canada for political or economic exile, so they can face Chinese justice, no questions asked.

In addition, the Liberals will be pressured to remove the Harper Government’s restrictions on Chinese state investment holding majority control of companies operating in oil and mining sectors. And, of course, this only works for the Chinese state if Ottawa authorizes construction of an oil pipeline to the B.C. coast, where Chinese tankers will access the port facilities.  

It appears our Government is already preparing to accede to Beijing in all these areas.

Public opinion polls indicate that most Canadians want Ottawa to effectively engage the China on human rights concerns, and are opposed to Chinese state control of critical elements of Canada’s economy. (This of course is not reciprocal, as Beijing would never allow comparable Canadian investment in China.) Canadians are also skeptical about Chinese state firms’ compliance with our environmental and labour standards.

So the question is, why are meetings attended by our Prime Minister — where the Chinese flag is displayed, and Justin Trudeau engages in high spirits with senior people associated with the Chinese regime — vaguely listed as “private meetings”?  

Canadians should be given transparency as our leaders ponder an enormously significant political and economic re-orientation to the much more strategically powerful China.  

Free trade with China will be next on the agenda. But on what terms?

Canadians deserve a full and open accounting before our Government signs on any bottom line.