Remember when the RCMP and CSIS accused the Chinese government of purchasing real estate in Canadian urban centers as a method of threatening Canada? No? That’s because the recommendations from a former classified program called Sidewinder was abandoned. All documents were ordered destroyed, and buried in 1997 by the Liberal government. Turns out we were as anxious to build ties with China then as we are now. Despite our national spy services advising the government that, well…this would happen to real estate.
“China remains one of the greatest ongoing threats to Canada’s national security and Canadian industry.”— Chinese Intelligence Services and Triads Financial Links in Canada
Chinese Billionaires, Gangsters, And Spies
Well known (and loved) Chinese-Canadian business tycoons are said to be a threat. Stanley Ho (Casino barron, former owner of Ramada), and Li Ka-shing (founder of Concord Pacific) are both named in the report for their aggressive investments in Canadian real estate, and financial institutions. At one point they estimate that Li Ka-shing and his son owned at least ⅓-⅙ of downtown Vancouver at the time. The report also notes the recent buy of 18 hectares by the CN Tower, which is over 1% of downtown Toronto.
The report also alleges that Triads have developed large businesses in Canada, both legitimate and not-so-much. For those that don’t know, the Triads are one of the largest organized crime groups in the world. They have significant operations in Canada, mostly around Vancouver and Toronto. They’re discreet and intelligent, not street goons. Police forces around the world allege they do everything, from drug trafficking to smurfing. Although they do have much more legitimate operations, like making movies and real estate development.
The report also accuses the Chinese Intelligence Service (ChIS) of using specialists, students, and shell companies to “pursue their acquisition of economic intelligence.” They additionally claim that ChIS is attempting to position themselves in a way in which they can impact the management of the country.
Real Estate, Banking, And Technology
Influence In Politics
“The triads, the tycoons, and ChIS have learned the quick way to gain influence is to provide finance to the main political parties. Most of the companies identified in this research have contributed, sometimes several tens of thousands of dollars, to the two traditional parties, that is, the Liberal and Progressive-Conservative Parties.”
Leveraging Legitimate Desire
It’s Probably Nothing…Sidewinder Gets Disbanded
Political Response To Sidewinder
Raising of China’s flag at Vancouver city hall, to the tune of Canada’s national anthem.