Coming next week, final installment of Playing with the Dragon- read the second in the series now to catch up.

Originally posted in June of 2012, this post took a deeper look at how and who has played an integral role in the development of Canada’s foreign policy with China…and why Harper seemed to do an about-face when it comes to the Chinese government.

Playing with the Dragon II – The architects behind Canada’s China policy.

Who could forget this iconic image of a single man standing before the tanks, facing likely death? What strength lives in a soul to find oneself taking such action ?

I was raised in the sheltering woods and in relative isolation of the world beyond my hometown in northern British Columbia, with the CBC my only source of global information and newsfor much of that time. In 1989, watching the fight for democracy and freedom come to a head in China during the days and weeks of protests in and around Tiananmen Square were instrumental to my appreciation of true freedom and democracy.

Today, shocking news -or not, depending on how you look at it – comes to us from China. Li Wangyang, a Chinese dissident who had been jailed for more than 22 years for both his role in the 1989 protests, and later, for ‘inciting subversion’, was found dead.

Released from prison a year ago, he was in hospital for treatment of heart disease and diabetes when he was found with a strip of cloth around his neck, tied to a window bar above. Since he was known for his strong spirit and mind,and was seen in fine form the evening before,it was clearly a surprise to his family and friends, who do not believe he could have killed himself.

From the BBC:

“The Hong Kong-based Information Centre for Human Rights and Democracy in China said Mr Li died “unusually”.

“We cannot rule out that security guards monitoring him tortured him to death and faked a suicide,” the centre said in a statement “

Li WangYang, 你終於可以去和平

 

China.The country whose government deems it necessary to imprison a poet for “subversion of state power” after he writes a poem that the court deemed was a serious crime that deserved severe punishment – from the National Post :

IT’S TIME

By Zhu Yufu, translated by A. E. Clark and reprinted with permission

It’s time, people of China! It’s time. The Square belongs to everyone. With your own two feet It’s time to head to the Square and make your choice.

It’s time, people of China! It’s time. A song belongs to everyone. From your own throat It’s time to voice the song in your heart.

It’s time, people of China! It’s time. China belongs to everyone. Of your own will It’s time to choose what China shall be.”

Indeed, as Zhu Yufu urges his fellow Chinese sisters and brothers to find their song and sing it for democracy and freedom, I urge my fellow Canadians to find their songs and sing them too,for there is a growing concern among many in this country about the increasing Chinese state-connected foothold on Canada’s resources and corporations, leaving Canadians security and interests at risk.

While many urged Harper to condemn the Chinese governments harsh assault on human rights and free speech, he instead railed on environmentalists in his visit to China earlier this year, and “his strongest words ever on human rights” really seemed to be nothing more than platitudes.

Certainly, the Chinese government would not consider having to address its horrific human rights record as a condition of doing business in, and with, Canada – and Stephen Harper seems just fine with that.

He, who was once stand-offish when it came to cultivating Chinese business interest in Canada is now going as far as stating he will over-rule environmental  and regulatory process to ensure the Northern Gateway project gets built. Chinese state connected corporations have been busy in Canada’s north and Harper has gone to extreme lengths to facilitate this surge.

Which leads me to ask, why is that? Why is the Canadian government seemingly so eager to get into a financial bed with the Chinese government and Chinese state-owned corporations, when so many have rung alarm bells at the risk of doing so, without adequate safeguards to Canadian interests?

To understand why, one has to look beyond the Prime Minister, and into corporate Canada, to two organizations that have been deemed the architects of Canada’s China policy for far longer than Harper has been Prime Minister : the aptly named Power Corporation and the Canada Chinese Business Council.

The Power Corporation of Canada, under the direction of Andre and Paul Desmarais jr., has long been referred to ( and written about) as ‘the’ power behind the upper echelon of Canadian politics, in particular the Privy Council and the Prime Ministers office.

In fact, the company has shared a long and lively history with several prime ministers of different political leanings, who have worked on staff, including Jean Chretien, Paul Martin and Brian Mulroney. Over many years, political and professional connections continued in addition to personal ones, with the marriage of Andre Desmarais to Jean Cretiens daughter, so entrenched are the families and business/politics.

( In an aside, last night I was reading a book by publisher Douglas Gibson, ‘Stories About Storytellers’ in which he remarks on the memoirs of both Paul Martin and Brian Mulroney, both of whom talk about their time with Power Corporation and the Desmarais family – a fascinating read)

But I digress. Time to take a look at the Canada China Business Council in more depth. Deemed a private, not for profit association, it’s sole purpose is to facilite founding and member businesses in making as much money from trade and business with China as they possibly can, in the easiest and most unfettered manner.

Of note, is that in addition to Power Corporation, Export Development Canada and the Bank of Montreal, one of the founding members is CITIC, a state owned investment company of the Peoples Republic of China.

The board of directors of the China Canada Business Council is a veritable who’s who in Canadian politics and business, and boasts that:

‘Their cumulative corporate experience in China and their personal and business networks among China and Canada’s most senior government and business leaders is unparalleled. They speak with insight and authority on Canada-China trade and investment issues and their voices are heard.’

Indeed, the 2010/2011 board included the Desmarais family, Stockwell Day and a former ambassador to China.

And Stephen Harper, it seems, has definately heard their voices loud and clear.

Although Desmarais had long connections with three prior Prime Ministers, through Power Corp, and other political/personal ties, there was no such long history between the Desmarais family and Harper before he came into power. In fact, some wondered how much influence, if any, could come to bear on the new PM because of that lack of history.

As I touched on in the first installment of Playing With the Dragon – courtesy of Terry Glavins excellent article – Harper has visibly taken an about-face with respect to trade with China, and Canada-China relations, seemingly at great odds with Canada’s national interests.

The question remained for many why this was, and what prompted that about-face with China, but perhaps to understand we need to look back to 2010… and the photo Harper didn’t want you to see.

In fact, the photos Norman Spector was referring to in that article, are no longer included with the Globe and Mail article. Instead, you will have to head over to the Canada Free Press to see what photo Mr. Spector was talking about… and why many think it explains so much about Harpers big flip-flop in attitude towards trade and business with China. From that article:

“Leave it to the Globe and Mail, “Canada’s national newspaper” to flag The Photo Harper doesn’t want you to see without giving details about the person that Harper purportedly doesn’t want you to see.

“At last night’s dinner in Ottawa in honour of President Hu, from left to right, Andre Desmarais, president and co-Chair of the Power Corporation Board of Directors…who has contributed greatly to the strengthening of China-Canada relations, Hu Jintao and the Prime Minister of Canada, Stephen Harper.”  (The Globe and Mail, June 25, 2010).

The first colour photo released from last night’s dinner by the Prime Minister’s Office blocks out the person sitting to the right of Hu Jintao because of the angle the picture was taken from and the small Chinese flag on the table.

All it took to solve the mystery was a black and white photo from La Presse newspaper, revealing the person hidden by the flag to be none other than Andre Desmarais, Power Corp CEO and son-in-law of former Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien.

Will heads be rolling today at La Presse?  After all, it is owned by Power Corp.

You can’t hide Andre Desmarais even when you’re the prime minister.

Power Corp. is the power behind the Canadian government, through both Liberal and Conservative governments.”

Well, well. Andre Desmarais with Stephen Harper and Chinese government officials? It might appear that not having a long history of business and personal ties to the Desmarais family is not an inpediment to progress in the Prime Ministers office.

None of what I write here, is news. It is known to most political junkies, most newspaper men and women and reported on infrequently in bits and pieces. However, when you connect the dots and put it all together to show the bigger picture.. all at once…

An ” Aha…” moment, if you will.

When large corporations straddle the line between policy influence and creation, between business and government, at a level that may impact national interests, we have a problem.

When a Chinese state ( government) owned investment company is involved in policy creation and influence,in any way, shape or form and a member of a Canadian business association, we have a problem.

When we have highly influential former government officials working in the middle of this, again straddling the line between business and policy making, how can Canadians even begin to have faith our government is putting our interests first ?

In my opinion, the answer is, we cannot. We cannot have faith our government is putting the interests of Canadians, our security and our defence, above foreign interest, or foreign influence.

And when some of the most powerful rainmakers have managed to hold court over at least two major federal political parties, as it would seem, the only option left had better work three times as hard to show Canadians how they intend to change the course of history in this country, before we stand to lose it all.

 

 

You can read the first installment of the Playing with the Dragon series, here: http://lailayuile.com/2012/04/12/playing-with-the-dragon-who-is-looking-after-canadian-interests-while-china-outwits-our-governments/

Be sure to read the comments below the original 2012 posting, http://lailayuile.com/2012/06/06/playing-with-the-dragon-ii-the-architects-behind-canadas-china-policy/

“He wears a mask, and his face grows to fit it.” ~ George Orwell

The hypocrisy of Stephen Harper’s recent announcement that he would be boycotting the big grand poo-bah’s summit in Sri Lanka next month is stunning.

The lack of comment on it thus far, even more so. According to reports from overseas:

” Canada will skip the meeting because of  what Harper called “serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian standards during and after the civil war,” which ended there four years ago with the defeat of the Tamil Tigers. “

Because I know that the Privy Council office reads here frequently, I would like to point out that it’s really hard to take Harper’s momentary bouts of concern over human rights in other countries seriously, because of his abrupt flip-flop on his new BFF, the Chinese government .

In many ways, China’s record on human rights is getting worse, not better.  Increasingly, targets are not only religious minorities such as the Falun Gong, but of political activists and their families.

In August, representatives from the US has this to say about the state of human rights in China:

China‘s human rights situation is getting worse, a senior US official said in Beijing on Friday, as reports of another detention increased fears of a crackdown on activists and lawyers.

Uzra Zeya, who led the US side in annual bilateral rights dialogue, cited increasing pressure on activists’ friends and relatives and religious restrictions in Tibet and Xinjiang.

“I think we have continued to see a deterioration in the overall situation in China,” said Zeva, the acting assistant secretary of state for democracy, human rights and labour.

“The specific issue of the targeting of family members is one reason for that assessment: the case of the family of Liu Xiaobo, of Chen Guangcheng and other instances. This is a worrisome trend and one we have raised at senior levels.”

Even though China – which is still ruled by the Chinese Communist Party – signed the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), on October 5, 1998 – it has never actually ratified it. http://www.hrw.org/news/2013/10/08/china-ratify-key-international-human-rights-treaty

“Human Rights Watch believes that there are no credible reasons for the Chinese government to further delay ratification, absent which the government is not fully bound to uphold the treaty’s protections.

“China wants to join the UN’s top human rights body, but it won’t submit itself to the standards that body is sworn to apply,” said Sophie Richardson, China Director.

China is the only country among the permanent members of the UN Security Council not to have joined the ICCPR which guarantees essential rights ranging from the right to trial before an independent and impartial court to freedom of expression and political participation through regular and free elections.”

Adding to the glaring hypocrisy of Harpers human rights position this week, are stories of:

– forced abortions in some provinces to enforce the one-child law: http://news.sky.com/story/1150016/china-couple-speak-of-forced-abortion

-the arrest of political activists in China, by State authorities: http://www.voanews.com/content/china-arrests-activist-for-seeking-public-comments-in-un-rights-report/1760594.html

China, for as much as it appears to be a modern, progressive society, is still anything but all of those labels, if you oppose the government, its policies and it’s laws. When you can be jailed for 7 years for poetry that pushes and calls for democracy,  democracy does not yet truly exist in the motherland.

This is why I laugh when Harper feigns concerns over Sri Lanka’s humans rights. How easily he forgets when it comes to the government of Chinas failing on that very issue.

From “Playing with the DragonsII: The architects behind Canada’s China Policy” :

“Certainly, the Chinese government would not consider having to address its horrific human rights record as a condition of doing business in, and with, Canada – and Stephen Harper seems just fine with that.

He, who was once stand-offish when it came to cultivating Chinese business interest in Canada is now going as far as stating he will over-rule environmental  and regulatory process to ensure the Northern Gateway project gets built. Chinese state connected corporations have been busy in Canada’s north and Harper has gone to extreme lengths to facilitate this surge.

Which leads me to ask, why is that? Why is the Canadian government seemingly so eager to get into a financial bed with the Chinese government and Chinese state-connected corporations, when so many other governments have rung alarm bells at the risk of doing so, without adequate safeguards to Canadian interests?

To understand why, one has to look beyond the Prime Minister, and into corporate Canada, to two organizations that have been deemed the architects of Canada’s China policy for far longer than Harper has been Prime Minister : the aptly named Power Corporation and the Canada Chinese Business Council.

The Power Corporation of Canada, under the direction of Andre and Paul Desmarais, has long been referred to ( and written about) as being ’the’ power behind the upper echelon of Canadian politics, in particular the Privy Council and the Prime Ministers office.

In fact, the company has shared a long and lively history with several prime ministers of different political leanings, who have worked on staff, including Jean Chretien, Paul Martin and Brian Mulroney. Over many years, political and professional connections continued in addition to personal ones, with the marriage of Andre Desmarais to Jean Cretiens daughter, so entrenched are the families and business/politics…

Read all of this post and more, here: http://lailayuile.com/2012/06/06/playing-with-the-dragon-ii-the-architects-behind-canadas-china-policy/

harperhockeyIronically,while Rome Canada burns, Harper has oddly moved onto violence in hockey, a sport he has been known to watch while drinking a double double with our dear Christy Clark who also is an avid sports fan.

The question then becomes, in the face of all this rampant hypocrisy on human rights, what is the real reason Harper is boycotting Sri Lanka? Is is simply about the money, or is there something more?

Or am I the only one who noticed that while he is rolling out the red carpet for a country ( China) with one of the worst human rights records in history… he is  now boycotting another?

Stories within stories: Harper,why we must stop the Canada-China FIPA and the deal you still don’t really know about.

“I can retain neither respect nor affection for government which has been moving from wrong to wrong in order to defend its immorality”
~ Mahatma Gandhi

There are two very important things I would ask my readers to do today.

First, head on over to http://thecanadian.org/item/1803-how-you-can-help-prevent-the-ratification-of-canada-china-fipa 

At the link above, you will find detailed and easy to understand instructions on how to register your comments with the sadly flawed, final environmental assessment for the Canada China FIPA that must be stopped. Please do so,because the deal has yet to be signed off on here in Canada. More on this in a moment.

The second thing I would ask you to do, is to send Elizabeth May a note of thanks for keeping her eyes out for this deal in the first place.

Yes, indeed, the press has featured a somewhat outraged Mulcair riding in on a giant waffle at the last moment, demanding an emergency debate and then… oh well, this is what we might do if we are elected… seriously, you really need to try and digest this mans words – if you can actually swallow this bafflegab. http://www.montrealgazette.com/business/government+back+FIPA+after+three+years+says+Leader+Mulcair/7479006/story.html

Oh me! Oh my! Indeed the leader garnered great attention at this “11th hour” demand, such drama, such… politicking. Don’t get me wrong – if I had to choose today between Harpo Harper, the libs who are quite possibly going to be led down the fairy path by the fair skinned machismo laden young Trudeau, or the NDP- I would still vote NDP because the other two are simply not options for a true north strong and FREE. However, take note there’s a big waffle maker in Mulcairs closet somewhere…

Here is the story within the story behind this fiasco, and why I think we should give credit where credit is due to Ms. May, who the press for the large part, tend to ignore :

“On September 26, 2012 (the day after my Island Tides deadline), with no press release or briefing, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, rose in the House to table a few documents.  It was during a part of every day called “Routine Proceedings.”  The media had sped off for scrums after Question Period.  I was waiting my turn to table petitions.  Maybe another twenty MPs were in the Chamber when Deepak Obhrai tabled a deal with Norway and two with China – the agreement for peaceful use of nuclear energy and the “Agreement between the Government of Canada and the Government of the People’s Republic of China for the Promotion and Reciprocal Protection of Investments” (the Canada-China Investment Treaty). “

~snip~

“On October 1, 2012, I asked the Speaker for an Emergency Debate on the treaty.  I explained in a letter I had tabled with the Speaker on September 28 (and available on the elizabethmaymp.ca website) all the reasons that it was an emergency.  Sadly, he ruled that it was not a case for an emergency debate.   I asked in Question Period on October 4th, with 16 sitting days left until the treaty takes effect, whether the Prime Minister had chosen to approve this treaty by Order in Council to keep its details from Canadians or to avoid having to force Conservative MPs to vote for something they did not believe in.  House Leader Peter Van Loan said there could be debate if an Opposition Party chose to use one of its Opposition Days to do so.  I cannot get either the Liberals or the NDP to agree to give it an Opposition Day.”

Well, well. Isn’t that something indeed?  Kind of leaves a bad taste in my mouth for the grand performance of Mulcair being portrayed as the savior – which speaks more to political opportunism than good government for Canadians. If Elizabeth May had not been paying strict attention to this deal, it is likely it would have passed without fuss or muss in the typical Conservative stealth strategy and for that, I thank her. We should also give a shout out to MP Don Davies who did a fine job in the Standing Committee for International Trade, trying to get somewhere with the cons, to no avail – you can read that transcript here: http://publications.gc.ca/collections/collection_2012/parl/XC75-1-2-411-51-eng.pdf

It was also Ms. May who noticed the second treaty tabled that day at the same time as the FIPA, one with quite alarming implications although not as far-reaching as the Canada-China FIPA. And while we must all concentrate on stopping the FIPA, I think you need to know about this as well.

It is the Protocol to the Agreement Between the Government Of Canada and the Government Of The People’s Republic Of China for Co-operation in the Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy.

Again, Ms. May sums up the contentious nature of this treaty:

“The nuclear deal is a cover for our sales of uranium to China.  Under the terms of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, no country is to sell nuclear materials to a country with nuclear weapons unless it can absolutely guarantee a system of verifications and monitoring to ensure uranium for peaceful uses does not end up in nuclear weapons.  The two page deal released September 26, cannot do that.”

And whose idea was this, Mr. Harper ? Rather alarming, considering the political situation in China is about to change and quite possibly things could get much more liberal… or step things back a decade to a more hardline time.   http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/never-mind-washington-its-beijings-leadership-choice-canadians-should-watch-this-week/article4913677/

Here’s the thing about this “peaceful” nuclear treaty as well as the Canada-China FIPA.

They were never meant to be negotiated any further. They were never meant to be examined,dissected or otherwise discussed by the public at large.

They are exactly written as those who dictate such things behind this prime minister, and those who came before him in recent history, wanted it written. Terry Glavin said it best in a stunning commentary titled ‘ The Canada-China investment protection racket”:

“. . . The final thing you need to know about the Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement is its specific function. It’s to elevate Canada’s China-trade business executives from their hitherto mostly supine position as accomplices of Beijing’s gangland regime to a more formalized and official status as willing accessories to the beggaring of the Chinese people and the plundering of their wealth.

Protection is precisely what FIPPA’s Canadian beneficiaries will be very much wanting one day when all their trade agreements, their exquisitely-phrased contracts and their joint-venture undertakings are ablaze in bonfires from Guangdong to Xinjiang. Protection is what they will want, and they will deserve no such thing.”

Terry gets into a little more, including Mulcair, in his later blog post aptly titled ‘ The Sopranos with Chinese Characteristics.’ 

All that’s missing in this deal is Harper in a thug hat and a pimped out low rider car with full tint windows.

Head over to this link and find out…

How You Can Help Stop Ratification of Canada-China FIPA

( for a full list of what happened in China back in February, please check out Wai Young’s website, MP for Vancouver South –her list of items signed or agreed upon, is twice as long as Harper’s list … and included items I have not heard before such as negotiations to share proceeds of crime with the Chinese government)

Repost from June 2012 : “Playing with the Dragon II – The architects behind Canada’s China Policy.”

At this juncture in Canadian history, as our federal government signs what was passed off as a run of the mill trade deal with China that is cloaked in so much secrecy, it brings to mind questions as to the motivation for such a move.

It seems that while many have just begun to realise the depth of the Chinese governments interest in Canada, many more fail to realise this has not happened overnight. In fact, it has been a long and dedicated effort by many to reach this point, and for that reason I am re-posting one of the most examined posts on my site. The link to the first in this series is below this story.

There is much at stake. Read, digest and share.

Playing with the Dragon II – The architects behind Canada’s China policy.

Posted on June 6, 2012by

In 1989, I sat alone in front of the TV, watching the fight for democracy and freedom come to a head in China. Who could forget this iconic image of a single man standing before the tanks, facing likely death? What strength lives in a soul to find yourself taking such action ? For a young woman like myself, raised in the sheltering woods and relative isolation of the world beyond my hometown in northern British Columbia, pre-internet, and the CBC my only source of global information and news,  the days and weeks of protests in and around Tiananmen Square were instrumental to my appreciation of true freedom and democracy.

Today, shocking news -or not, depending on how you look at it – comes to us from China. Li Wangyang, a Chinese dissident who had been jailed for more than 22 years for both his role in the 1989 protests, and later, for ‘inciting subversion’, was found dead. Released from prison a year ago, he was in hospital for treatment of heart disease and diabetes when he was found with a strip of cloth around his neck, tied to a window bar above. Since he was known for his strong spirit and mind,and was seen in fine form the evening before,it was clearly a surprise to his family and friends, who do not believe he could have killed himself.

From the BBC:

“The Hong Kong-based Information Centre for Human Rights and Democracy in China said Mr Li died “unusually”.

“We cannot rule out that security guards monitoring him tortured him to death and faked a suicide,” the centre said in a statement “

Li WangYang, 你終於可以去和平

China.

The country whose government deems it necessary to imprison a poet for “subversion of state power” after he writes a poem that the court deemed was a serious crime that deserved severe punishment – from the National Post :

IT’S TIME

By Zhu Yufu, translated by A. E. Clark and reprinted with permission

It’s time, people of China! It’s time. The Square belongs to everyone. With your own two feet It’s time to head to the Square and make your choice.

It’s time, people of China! It’s time. A song belongs to everyone. From your own throat It’s time to voice the song in your heart.

It’s time, people of China! It’s time. China belongs to everyone. Of your own will It’s time to choose what China shall be.”

Indeed, as Zhu Yufu urges his fellow Chinese sisters and brothers to find their song and sing it, I urge my fellow Canadians to find their songs and sing them too…for there is a growing concern among many in this country about the increasing foothold on Canada’s resources and corporations, leaving Canadians security and interests at risk.

While many urged Harper to condemn this harsh assault on human rights and free speech, he instead railed on environmentalists in his visit to China earlier this year, and ” his strongest words ever on human rights” really seemed to be nothing more than platitudes.

Certainly, the Chinese government would not consider having to address its horrific human rights record as a condition of doing business in, and with, Canada – and Stephen Harper seems just fine with that. He, who was once stand-offish when it came to cultivating Chinese business interest in Canada is now going as far as stating he will over-rule environmental  and regulatory process to ensure the Northern Gateway project gets built. Chinese state connected corporations have been busy in Canada’s north and Harper has gone to extreme lengths to facilitate this surge.

Which leads me to ask, why is that? Why is the Canadian government seemingly so eager to get into a financial bed with the Chinese government and Chinese corporations, when so many have rung alarm bells at the risk of doing so, without adequate safeguards to Canadian interests?

To understand why, one has to look beyond the Prime Minister, and into corporate Canada, to two organizations that have been deemed the architects of Canada’s China policy for far longer than Harper has been Prime Minister : the aptly named Power Corporation and the Canada Chinese Business Council.

The Power Corporation of Canada, under the direction of Andre and Paul Desmarais, has long been referred to ( and written about) as being ’the’ power behind the upper echelon of Canadian politics, in particular the Privy Council and the Prime Ministers office.

In fact, the company has shared a long and lively history with several prime ministers of different political leanings, who have worked on staff, including Jean Chretien, Paul Martin and Brian Mulroney. Over many years, political and professional connections continued in addition to personal ones, with the marriage of Andre Desmarais to Jean Cretiens daughter, so entrenched are the families and business/politics.

( In an aside, last night I was reading a book by publisher Douglas Gibson, ‘Stories About Storytellers’ in which he remarks on the memoirs of both Paul Martin and Brian Mulroney, both of whom talk about their time with Power Corporation and the Desmarais family – a fascinating read)

But I digress. Time to take a look at the Canada China Business Council in more depth. Deemed a private, not for profit association, it’s sole purpose appears to be facilitating founding and member businesses in making as much money from trade and business with China as they possibly can, in the easiest and most unfettered manner. Read that as, free of trade and regulatory interference, if you wish.

Of note, is that in addition to Power Corporation, Export Development Canada and the Bank of Montreal, one of the founding members is CITIC, a state owned investment company of the Peoples Republic of China.

The board of directors of the China Canada Business Council is a veritable who’s who in Canadian politics and business, and boasts that ”Their cumulative corporate experience in China and their personal and business networks among China and Canada’s most senior government and business leaders is unparalleled. They speak with insight and authority on Canada-China trade and investment issues and their voices are heard.”

Indeed, the 2010/2011 board included the Desmarais, Stockwell Day and a former ambassador to China.

And Stephen Harper, it seems, has heard their voices loud and clear.

Although Desmarais had long connections with three prior Prime Ministers, through Power Corp, and other political/personal ties, there was no such long history between the Desmarais family and Harper before he came into power. In fact, some wondered how much influence, if any, could come to bear on the new PM because of that lack of history.

As I touched on in the first installment of Playing With the Dragon – courtesy of Terry Glavins excellent article – Harper has visibly taken an about-face with respect to trade with China, and Canada-China relations, seemingly at great odds with Canada’s national interests.

The question remained for many why this was, and what prompted that about-face with China, but perhaps to understand we need to look back to 2010… and the photo Harper didn’t want you to see.

In fact, the photos Norman Spector was referring to in that article, are no longer included with the Globe and Mail article. Instead, you will have to head over to the Canada Free Press to see what photo Mr. Spector was talking about… and why many think it explains so much about Harpers big flip-flop in attitude towards trade and business with China. From that article:

“Leave it to the Globe and Mail, “Canada’s national newspaper” to flag The Photo Harper doesn’t want you to seewithout giving details about the person that Harper purportedly doesn’t want you to see.

“At last night’s dinner in Ottawa in honour of President Hu, from left to right, Andre Desmarais, president and co-Chair of the Power Corporation Board of Directors…who has contributed greatly to the strengthening of China-Canada relations, Hu Jintao and the Prime Minister of Canada, Stephen Harper.”  (The Globe and Mail, June 25, 2010).

The first colour photo released from last night’s dinner by the Prime Minister’s Office blocks out the person sitting to the right of Hu Jintao because of the angle the picture was taken from and the small Chinese flag on the table.

All it took to solve the mystery was a black and white photo from La Presse newspaper, revealing the person hidden by the flag to be none other than Andre Desmarais, Power Corp CEO and son-in-law of former Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien.

Will heads be rolling today at La Presse?  After all, it is owned by Power Corp.

You can’t hide Andre Desmarais even when you’re the prime minister.

Power Corp. is the power behind the Canadian government, through both Liberal and Conservative governments.”

Well, well. Andre Desmarais with Stephen Harper and Chinese government officials? It might appear that not having a long history of business and personal ties to the Desmarais family is not an inpediment to progress in the Prime Ministers office.

None of what I write here, is news. It is known to most political junkies, most newspaper men and women and reported on infrequently in bits and pieces. However, when you connect the dots and put it all together to show the bigger picture.. all at once…

An ” Aha…” moment, if you will.

When large corporations straddle the line between policy influence and creation, between business and government, at this level, we have a problem.

When a Chinese state owned investment company is involved in policy creation and influence,in any way, shape or form and a member of a Canadian business association, we have a problem.

When we have highly influential former government officials working in the middle of this, again straddling the line between business and policy making, how can Canadians even begin to have faith our government is putting our interests first ?

In my opinion, the answer is, we cannot. We cannot have faith our government is putting the interests of Canadians, our security and our defence, above foreign interest, or foreign influence.

And when some of the most powerful rainmakers have managed to hold court over at least two major federal political parties, as it would seem, the only option left had better work three times as hard to show Canadians how they intend to change the course of history in this country, before we lose it all.

You can read the first installment of the Playing with the Dragon series, here: http://lailayuile.com/2012/04/12/playing-with-the-dragon-who-is-looking-after-canadian-interests-while-china-outwits-our-governments/

And the original post with comments here: http://lailayuile.com/2012/06/06/playing-with-the-dragon-ii-the-architects-behind-canadas-china-policy/

“I very much look forward to the ratification and implementation of the Canada-China FIPA…” ~ Unelected premier Christy Clark, during the Canada-China Investment Summit

Breaking news folks, and don’t forget you read it here first.

Read and weep my fellow loyal British Columbians…. read and behold why Christy Clark is ignoring the emails of thousands of concerned Canadians.

She’s been in support for some time. The jokes on us, apparently.

Thank you to J for this tell all letter.

christysellout

Christy being authentically authentic in China raises questions.

Thank goodness I’ve resolved all technical issues, seems the takedown of Godaddy by Anonymous had a trickle down effect around the world. Anyways, stay calm and carry on and all that…but  it’s too late for your post today so watch for that tomorrow.

However, I did just notice this coming in over Twitter….. Oh look, it’s our still unelected premier, Christy Clark, being authentic and whatever in China, talking about families and all that warm fuzzy stuff. And are those new glasses? Oh, how authentic! How intellectual! How….. how Christy.

“You know those trade opportunities are all about  families first and you know it doesn’t bother us about doing business with a government that you know, is trying hard to take over all Canadian resources and you know that’s ok, because its jobs and that means good things for families, and we need to expand the ports and look at this big bridge!! “  OK, she didn’t really say that but really, enough of her monotonous slogan already.

As you may have heard, Christy has announced the opening of a new trade office in Hong Kong. That’s all great and dandy, maybe we’ll get more foreign companies to open more mines here and bring in more Chinese workers… opps, sorry, that’s not BC families first though, is it ?

I digress. All of this concerns me a bit, for a few reasons.

One, economists around the world have been increasingly sounding the alarm on the state of the Chinese economy and it thought that a big slump is headed their way in 2013. That bodes ill for countries or provinces relying on Asian economics to boost our local economies. In fact, in light of disappointing financial news from that country, the Chinese president just warned that a further slowdown is coming after it was revealed that China’s imports shrank in August.

Second, after doing extensive research for the Playing with the Dragon posts on Canada/China relations, policy and the active involvement of the Chinese government in our federal government, I have serious concerns about how these trips to China are being conducted.

With seemingly every government but our own ( federally and provincially) taking the very real threat of Chinese espionage seriously, one must wonder if our premier and her consorts, take the same precautions many corporate and government travellers to China take.

Do we bring our own translators ? Or do our government officials use the ones provided, most graciously, by the Chinese government, who have been alleged to be anything but translators – a ploy that has worked quite well in the past for monitoring what foreign governments and business are speaking about amongst themselves.

Is our premier and her staff aware that in China, … “All hotel rooms and offices are considered to be subject to onsite or remote technical monitoring at all times. Hotel rooms, residences, and offices may be accessed at any time without the occupants’ consent or knowledge… All means of communication — telephones, mobile phones, faxes, e-mails, text messages, etc. — are likely monitored.” .. as per the China 2012 Crime and Safety Report: Beijing ?

While I am sure the premier isn’t carrying around any potentially sensitive information in her laptop, ipad or cellphone, one can’t discount what any government information might be used for or what it would be worth to a foreign company or government such as China. Considering the lengths many executives and governments are taking when they must do business in China, it’s worth examination of our governments procedures, in particular when our premier is opening another trade office there – a prime target for monitoring if ever there was one – considering the increasing presence of Chinese government connected companies operating in Canada, and in British Columbia.

Nexen purchase by CNOOC tainted by insider trading probe: US SEC freezes assets of traders who reaped $13 million ahead of announcement

From Bloomberg: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-07-29/sec-freezes-trader-assets-in-probe-of-cnooc-s-nexen-purchase.html

“The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission  obtained a court order to freeze assets of traders who allegedly reaped more  than $13 million by trading illegally ahead of Cnooc Ltd.  (883)’s announcement that it would buy Nexen Inc. (NXY)

Hong Kong-based Well Advantage  Limited and other unknown traders stockpiled shares of Nexen based on  confidential information about the deal, the SEC said in a July 27 statement  announcing a complaint filed at federal court in Manhattan. The  court order froze about $38 million in assets, the SEC said.

Nexen’s stock rose more than 50 percent on July 23 after Cnooc, China’s largest  offshore oil and gas explorer, said it would pay $15.1 billion in cash to  acquire the Calgary-based company in the biggest overseas takeover by a Chinese  firm. The price was $27.50 for each common share, a premium of 61 percent to  Nexen’s closing price on July 20, the previous trading day.

“Well Advantage and these other  traders engaged in an all- too-familiar pattern of misusing inside information  to place extremely timely trades and profit handsomely from their illegal acts,” Sanjay Wadhwa, deputy head of the SEC’s market abuse enforcement unit, said in a  statement.

Almost all of the purchases of  Nexen stock occurred during the seven trading days before the acquisition was  announced, and the accounts used for the transactions had little or no history  of buying Nexen shares. Well Advantage’s owner is controlling shareholder of a  Hong Kong-based company that engages in significant business activities with  Cnooc, the SEC said... “

Canada has increasingly become the exception as a government, in allowing Chinese State owned(or connected) companies to lobby our government closely; in allowing Chinese State owned companies to buy vast holdings in our national and natural resources as well as allowing them to buy into telecommunications in Canada, that provide services to our military. Other countries have put the brake on similar deals because of valid concerns with regard to national security and foreign interests becoming involved and gaining power over national resources. Our own law enforcement and intelligence agencies have been crying foul over this for some time, while our federal government continues to ignore all and hold court with the communist Chinese government.

Canada is the exception. You need to ask yourself, why?

The answers might be found below, as I re-post two, timely posts:

Playing with the Dragon: Who looks after Canada’s interest while China outwits our government?

Playing with the Dragon II : The architects behind Canada’s China policy.

One can’t help but think about the Chinese state connection to the Northern Gateway Pipeline…

Updated:  Thanks to Ivana C Justice for this timely news segment from Business News Network, featuring a business person and commentator who has firsthand knowledge of what happens when you sell a company to CNOOC and the Chinese government… and why the Canadian government needs to stop this immediately. This news segment cuts right to the chase of Chinese government policy and why it will never fit in with Canadian business.

http://watch.bnn.ca/#clip727903