Keeping an eye on Communist, Totalitarian China, and its influence both globally, and we as Canadians. I have come to the opinion that we are rarely privy to truth regarding the real goal, the agenda of Red China, and it's implications for Canada [and North America as a whole]. No more can we rely on our media as more and more information on China is actively being swept under the carpet - not for consumption.
Tuesday, April 10, 2018
Douglas Todd: Does China's money threaten Canada's sovereignty?
Douglas Todd: Does China's money threaten Canada's sovereignty?
It’s a legendary ski resort perched on top of the mountains above Metro Vancouver, visible to all denizens below.
The reported purchase of Grouse Mountain Resort is one of many recent sweeping real estate deals in Canada coming out of the authoritarian Communist nation of 1.3 billion people.
In light of China’s buying spree, perhaps it’s little surprise a new Pew Research poll says Canadians, unlike Americans and Latin Americans, now believe the populous East Asian nation is the “most powerful country in the world.”
What does China want from Canada?
And should Canadians, contrary to their welcoming prime minister, be worried about China’s interest in this land, particularly its urban real estate?
No Canadian region is more impacted by Mainland Chinese capital than Metro Vancouver, a relatively small city of 2.5 million.
In 2015 alone, the National Bank of Canada estimated buyers from China poured $13 billion into Metro Vancouver real estate, one third of the total. Vancouver Sun and Province reporter Sam Cooper follows the flow of such money, a portion of which is illicit and often ignored by Canadian officials.
In addition to the sale of B.C. golf courses and marquee hotels, the reported sale of Grouse Mountain Resort comes on the heels of China’s Anbang Insurance spending $1.2 billion on four noted Bentall Towers in downtown Vancouver.
Anbang also poured $90 million into leasing the Fairmont Vancouver Airport Hotel, and recently snapped up Vancouver-based Retirement Concepts, one of the province’s largest retirement-home chains.
Anbang comes with no shortage of intrigue. It not only has close ties to the political elite of the People’s Republic of China, in June Chinese authorities detained Anbang’s chairman amid a crackdown on corruption. He’s disappeared.
So much for national sovereignty. So much for protecting Canadian politicians from outside money.
I have some respect for what Mainland China has accomplished in two decades — aggressively expanding into the second largest economy in the world, constructing massive infrastructure and confronting grave ecological challenges.
China is also trying, in a convoluted way, to restrict the money rich Chinese are sneaking out of their country. Beijing is attempting to impose strict limits on how much its multimillionaires can privately invest in foreign real estate.
This, even while China’s human rights abuses are too numerous to mention.
All in all, it’s naive to think China’s interest in Canada is completely harmless.
We should not deny the myriad ways the corporate arms of any superpower, like the U.S., can externally influence a medium power like Canada.
Meanwhile, in June, China signed an agreement with Canada saying it will stop conducting state-sponsored cyberattacks to steal Canadian private-sector trade secrets.
China’s pledge is strangely limited, though. It only purports to stop the hacking of corporations. It doesn’t stop China from conducting state-sponsored cyberattacks against the Canadian government or military.
Which is what it did in 2014, when Chinese hackers broke into the main computers at the country’s National Research Council.
China’s numerous breaches of Canadian security echo the warnings in an earlier secret report by the RCMP and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, which was buried.
The Sidewinder Project concluded in the late 1990s that “China remains one of the greatest ongoing threats to Canada’s national security and Canadian industry.”
Trudeau has made it much easier for foreigners to buy up Canadian real estate and companies, by increasing the threshold at which foreign takeovers will be reviewed — to $1 billion.
Despite a recent Nanos poll showing most Canadians didn’t want to sell our high-tech companies to China, Trudeau’s public-relations efforts have convinced a slight majority of Canadians to support his pursuit of a free-trade agreement with Beijing.
There are pockets of resistance, however.
The federal NDP has called for reducing the threshold amount for foreign takeovers, to protect Canadian jobs and ensure offshore deals benefit most Canadians.
Conservative leader Andrew Scheer is opposing a trade deal between China and Canada, citing concerns about human rights, labour standards and state-connected Chinese companies.
Giving China preferential access to the Canadian market “would threaten the jobs of workers and businesses in this country,” said Scheer, saying Trudeau is trying to “appease” China.
It almost sounds as if Canada is preparing to have another debate about sovereignty.
That’s what happened more than two decades ago over the North American Free Trade Agreement, which didn’t exactly lead to average Canadians gaining more control over their futures.
How much does sovereignty count for Canadians, particularly in regards to China’s influence over the residential real estate market; over the basic human need of housing?
How large an opening do Canadians want to give another superpower?
Douglas Todd: Foreign money poses threat to B.C. democracy
July 2016 Australia’s politicians are, in effect, facing censure for acting just like B.C.'s Liberal Party government, which has also accepted millions of dollars in donations from foreign companies.
The storm over foreign political donations is peaking in Australia.
Australian voters have become disgusted by the fact they live in one of the few advanced countries in the world that allows foreign companies, without restriction, to donate to its political parties.
Australia’s politicians are, in effect, finally facing censure for acting just like another outlier, the B.C. Liberal Party, which has also taken in millions of dollars from companies based in Europe, the U.S. and Asia.
Independent B.C. MLA Vicki Huntington (Delta South) refers to B.C.’s practice, which is virtually unheard of in the rest of Canada, as “almost like legalized bribery.”
Given the furore Down Under, leading Australian politicians, including Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, have this fall pledged to ban foreign political gifts.
Australian indignation has been exacerbated by news that the powerful owner of a China-based real estate company has complained that wealthy Chinese donors aren’t getting the leverage they should with Australian politicians.
“(They’re) not delivering … We need to learn how to have a more efficient combination between political requests and political donations,” Huang Xiangmo, chairman of the Yuhu Group of developers, wrote in Mandarin in China’s state-run newspaper.
Like others around the globe, Australians have also been reading about the way a bagman for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump was caught on video preparing to accept a $2-million donation from undercover British journalists posing as representatives of a Chinese billionaire.
Since the U.S. and most democratic nations, including Canada, have made it illegal to accept donations from foreigners, The Telegraph newspaper’s sting exposed just how craven some Western political figures are: Promising foreign companies special treatment in exchange for their illicit cash.
Despite international pro-democracy agencies warning against foreign political donations, the B.C. Liberals brazenly go their own way in Canada and rake in large donations from scores of companies rooted in China, Malaysia, the U.S., Dubai, Poland and Indonesia.
Foreign donations draw scant attention in B.C.
The issue of foreign political donations draws little public attention on Canada’s West Coast, however.
That’s in contrast to the way Huntington and the NDP’s Gary Holman (Saanich North) and David Eby (Vancouver Point Grey) have been making headway in directing the spotlight onto a related problem: the way the B.C. Liberals permit corporate and union donations.
Although the federal government and most provinces ban corporate and union contributions, the B.C. Liberals in the past decade took in more than $70 million in corporate donations (while the NDP accepted $11 million from unions). More than $12 million was donated to the B.C. Liberals by the real estate sector.
The NDP, the Green Party and Huntington have long been pressing to end corporate and union donations in the province, including at the municipal level, where real-estate developers donate to politicians who make crucial zoning choices.
Clark often sits down for dinner with intimate groups of wealthy and corporate donors, each of whom has paid at least $10,000 for the chance to sway her views.
One media report has revealed how, even though the B.C. Liberals are avoiding a sitting of the legislature this fall, it has not stopped the party from holding at least nine fundraising galas this fall.
For their part, Clark and B.C. Liberal cabinet ministers such as Mike De Jong, Rich Coleman, Suzanne Anton and Peter Fassbender consistently deny — and expect voters to believe — that corporate donors do not gain any business advantage at all. None.
Even while some progress is being made in highlighting the downside of corporate and union donations, however, Huntington acknowledged the public knows little about foreign donations — partly because the transnational money trail is particularly complex.
“It’s hard to prove a foreign donor is directly shaping policy choices. Still, you know the donations are made to influence decision-making. My mind goes to the question of sovereignty,” said Huntington, who added that donations from residents of other provinces should also be forbidden.
“You are not respecting voters when you allow foreign companies to shape local political decisions,’” said Huntingdon, whose remarks echo a report this year from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
Titled Financing Democracy, the OECD report warned: “Political parties and candidates need to be responsive to their constituents and not influenced by foreign interests. Too much foreign interference in elections is a danger to a country’s sovereignty.”
Like the OECD and others who urge reform, Huntington recommends that only individual B.C. voters should donate and there should be greater public financing of election campaigns, with limits on advertising.
Big foreign donors to B.C. Liberals
Which foreign companies are donating the most to the B.C. Liberals?
The independent watchdog, Integrity B.C., has doggedly tracked the complex web of tens of thousands of donations made each year to politicians on the West Coast.
Executive director Dermod Travis this week compiled a list of the contributions made to the B.C. Liberals in the past decade by roughly 100 companies that are, directly or indirectly, based offshore.
Some big donors from the United States include Colliers International, a real estate company, which gave the B.C. Liberals $105,000. Hub International, a U.S. insurance company, donated $117,000, Weyerhaeuser gave $215,000, Chevron donated $140,000, Kinder Morgan donated $28,000, Pfizer donated $45,000 and Kiewit gave $101,000.
Two of the largest business donors from Asia include Indonesia-based Paper Excellence, which donated $90,000, and Woodfibre LNG, which gave $58,000.
China’s Kailuan Dehua mining company gave $59,000 to the B.C. Liberals. Japan’s Tanac Development gave $50,000, Dubai’s DP World gave $41,000 and Malaysia’s Holborn Holdings — it calls itself a Vancouver holding company, but is run by Joo Kim Tiah, son of one of Asia’s richest tycoons — donated $226,000.
Holborn’s massive contribution to the B.C. Liberals is significant not only because the Malaysian-based company controversially bought a large swath of B.C.-government owned land next to Vancouver’s Little Mountain, which up until then had provided social housing.
The Holborn Group is also building Vancouver’s luxurious Trump Tower, named after the presidential candidate whose supporters have blatantly flouted U.S. election laws by seeking big-money foreign gifts.
If Trump is elected president on Tuesday, is it possible one of the first things the transnational real-estate magnate would do is normalize his own fundraising tactics by trying to change American laws to legalize foreign donations?
If so, Trump could point to the North American example set by his fellow travellers in the B.C. Liberals, who have been in power for 15 years and seem never to have met a corporate or foreign donor they don’t like.
Foreign-based Corporate Donors to B.C. Liberal Party
(Data provided by Integrity B.C., based on B.C. government public records for past decade)
7-ELEVEN CANADA $59,320.00 USA ADOBE INC $10,000.00 USA ALASKA AIRLINES / HORIZON AIR $1,000.00 USA BANK OF CHINA $388.00 CHINA BLACK BALL FERRY LINE $9,375.00 USA BNSF RAILWAY COMPANY (BURLINGTON NORTHERN) $14,526.75 USA CANADIAN DEHUA INTERNATIONAL MINES GROUP INC $15,564.00 CHINA CANADIAN KAILUAN DEHUA MINES CO LTD $44,410.00 CHINA CGR INVESTMENTS INC $11,299.00 CHINA CLIPPER NAVIGATION LTD $2,215.91 USA COLLIERS INTERNATIONAL $105,015.00 USA DAVID LEADBETTER GOLF ACADEMY – IMG ACADEMIES (UK) LTD $375.00 UK DISNEY ONLINE STUDIOS CANADA INC $1,000.00 USA DP WORLD (CANADA) INC $41,990.00 DUBAI EARTH TECH (CANADA) INC. $2,000.00 USA ELECTRONIC ARTS (CANADA) INC $260.00 USA EMAAR PROPERTIES (CANADA) LTD $300.00 DUBAI GENERAL ELECTRIC $18,545.00 USA GROSVENOR CANADA LTD $7,990.00 UK HD MINING INTERNATIONAL LTD $3,000.00 CHINA HOLBORN HOLDINGS / TA MANAGEMENT LTD $226,690.00 MALAYSIA HOLLAND AMERICA LINE $3,000.00 USA HSBC BANK CANADA $8,100.00 CHINA (HONG KONG) HUB INTERNATIONAL $117,200.00 USA KGHM AJAX MINING INC $55,450.00 POLAND KLAPPAN COAL JOINT VENTURE $700.00 SOUTH KOREA LISTEL HOTEL – LISTEL CANADA LTD $738.00
LOUISIANA-PACIFIC CANADA LTD $6,000.00 USA MERCEDES-BENZ CANADA INC. $760.00 GERMANY MICROSOFT CORP. $29,809.00 USA MITSUBISHI MOTORS CANADA $2,500.00 JAPAN NBC UNIVERSAL MEDIA LLC $528.20 USA OAK MARITIME (CANADA) INC $2,200.00 CHINA (HONG KONG) OASIS HONG KONG AIRLINES LTD $5,100.00 CHINA (HONG KONG) P&O PORTS CANADA INC $24,485.00 DUBAI PM (CANADA) CONSULTING $300.00 USA POSCO CANADA LTD $1,150.00 SOUTH KOREA REPUBLIC SERVICES INC $30,258.26 USA ROYAL CARIBBEAN CRUISES LTD $3,701.00 USA SEATTLE SEAHAWKS $500.00 USA SSAB SWEDISH STEEL LTD $1,400.00 SWEDEN SUMITOMO METAL MINING AMERICA INC $11,100.00 JAPAN TANAC DEVELOPMENT CANADA CORP $50,000.00 JAPAN UBISOFT ENTERTAINMENT $800.00 FRANCE UNIVERSITY OF PHOENIX ULC $21,740.00 USA VALLES STEAMSHIP (CANADA) LTD $10,000.00 TAIWAN
FORESTRY / PULP & PAPER
BABINE FOREST PRODUCTS / HAMPTON $29,310.00 USA MERCER INTERNATIONAL $115,100.00 USA NORSKE SKOG $28,790.00 NORWAY PAPER EXCELLENCE CANADA HOLDINGS CORP $90,488.00 INDONESIA SUN WAVE FOREST PRODUCTS LTD $3,397.00 CHINA WEYERHAEUSER $215,345.00 USA
BURLINGTON RESOURCES CANADA LTD $22,738.00 USA
CHEVRON CANADA LTD $140,563.44 USA CONOCOPHILLIPS CANADA $31,060.00 USA FRED. OLSEN RENEWABLES (CANADA) LTD $6,050.00 NORWAY KINDER MORGAN INC $28,888.00 USA PROGRESS ENERGY RESOURCES CORP $17,000.00 MALAYSIA WOODFIBRE LNG LTD $58,500.00 INDONESIA
VERTEX PHARMACEUTICALS (CANADA) INC $375.00 USA BOEHRINGER INGELHEIM (CANADA) LTD $13,775.00 GERMANY ELI LILLY CANADA INC $6,323.00 USA WYETH CANADA $12,197.00 USA AMGEN CANADA INC $23,675.00 USA NOVARTIS PHARMACEUTICALS CANADA INC $26,720.00 SWITZERLAND JOHNSON & JOHNSON INC $29,570.00 USA JANSSEN INC $31,734.00 BELGIUM GLAXOSMITHKLINE INC $31,912.00 UK MERCK CANADA INC $43,047.00 USA PFIZER CANADA INC $45,037.00 USA
ACCIONA INFRASTRUCTURE CANADA INC $10,350.00 SPAIN AMEC AMERICAS LTD $74,855.00 USA BILFINGER BERGER AG $2,000.00 GERMANY BUOYGUES BUILDING BC $5,000.00 FRANCE CH2M HILL CANADA LTD $6,400.00 USA FLATIRON CONSTRUCTION CANADA $7,800.00 USA CORIX INFRASTRUCTURE $2,500.00 USA MACQUARIE N. AMERICA / FRASER SURREY DOCKS LP $31,000.00 AUSTRALIA KIEWIT/FLATIRON GENERAL PARTNERSHIP $5,000.00 USA KIEWIT $101,475.00 USA PLENARY GROUP $30,190.00 AUSTRALIA MWH GLOBAL (ENGINEERING) $15,436.64 USA HARRIS REBAR DIV OF HARRIS STEEL LTD $20,700.00 USA
DIANA BENNETT (Paragon) 2013-11-13 $5,078.00 USA SCOTT MENKE (Paragon) 2013-11-13 $5,078.00 USA