Trevor Lautens

Columnist

Canada increasingly a pushover for China’s economic imperialism

Today Canada is eagerly kissing neo-imperialist China’s backside, its face clearly revealed by the still-ubiquitous public posters of mass murderer and towering economic bungler Mao ...

No, the following rant wasn’t fuelled by a weekend of intense liquid partying, a warm-up for New Year’s. It comes straight from a gnarled, bitter heart.

At a moment of national despair years ago I recorded in one of my private notebooks, kept since 1960 (sure to be of posthumous historical importance): “I hate being Canadian, and I could never be anything else.”

Today I furiously revisit that sentiment. Canada has spent half a millennium under colonialism – French, British, American economic variety. Today Canada is eagerly kissing neo-imperialist China’s backside, its face clearly revealed by the still-ubiquitous public posters of mass murderer and towering economic bungler Mao Zedong.

A generation after the Soviet Union’s evil empire collapsed, China remains a Communist – and dangerous – dictatorship. It beats and jails its internal critics remorselessly. Its well-documented industrial espionage in North America, and its currency manipulation that facilitates purchase of Western bonds and companies, are outrageous.

Nobody’s outraged.

Stephen Harper approved the purchase of Nexen by the China National Offshore Oil Corp. (CNOOC), this anti-democratic rogue state’s consortium of national oil companies.

Backed by detailed analysis of its legal and constitutional implications, Brian Seaman, researcher with the Alberta Civil Liberties Research Association, baldly states that the agreement “trades away our rights and laws” (“New Canada-China trade deal is bad for Canada” – Business in Vancouver issue 1210; January 1-7).

He speculates that if CNOOC became a lead partner or investor in a pipeline project, it could trump the objections of the B.C. government, First Nations, environmentalists and anyone else.

Hear this: Writing in the Financial Post, Wenran Jiang, University of Alberta political scientist and director of the Canada-China Energy & Environment Forum, which met recently in Beijing, dismisses the deal as minuscule in the global economic picture – then concedes it’s “the largest Chinese overseas takeover by far.”

Hear more: “Canada is not the only game … there are many places where the speed of projects is much more efficient and the returns much more profitable than the Canadian market.”

If this silken threat is too subtle for the crude Canadian intellect, Jiang closes with sharper proxy bullying on behalf of the Middle Kingdom: “In other words, we will be fooling ourselves if we think Canada is the only dinner party in town and that the Chinese would stick around with only an appetizer’s tasting after we have invited them to buy a full dinner ticket.”

Substitute an American corporation’s advocate talkin’. Canada’s U.S.-hating leftists and adenoidal nationalists would go crazy. Yet Canada, like other Western democracies, is kowtowing to Chinese economic imperialism without a peep.

Just a “cheap-cheap” – as our amoral businesses and consumers eagerly sacrifice Canadian manufactures and industrial workers for sweated -labour Chinese goods, impossible to avoid and even less to compete with.

More grotesque is China’s HD company – supposedly a consortium of “private” companies, but no company in Central Committee-controlled China is private in any Western sense – buying B.C. mining properties and getting a permit to import Chinese workers to staff it, over angry union objections.

Canada is partly the author of its own misfortunes.

Immigration Minister Jason Kenney cites devastating figures: In the next decade Canada will have a shortage of 10,000 skilled workers, 163,000 construction workers and 130,000 oil workers.

We native-born Canadians don’t like dirtying our hands (mea culpa, why do you think I chose this work?). We prefer soft university arts courses to strongly job-oriented schools like BCIT.

Give me more space and I’d rant about exporting construction jobs to the Netherlands for the SeaBus, instead of building it two clicks from where it’ll run … and more. Happy New Year? Bah, humbug. •

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