In order for Ottawa to implement a successful Chinese policy, the influence of Canadian and Chinese business lobbies must end.


Commentary

The Trudeau government seems to be rethinking China’s policies to better adapt to current challenges. NSGlobe and Mail Report The government has “designed the first strategy to cover the entire Indo-Pacific region,” and will superficially focus on increasing threats from the Chinese administration.

The Special Secretariat of Global Affairs, which is in charge of strategic planning, is headed by a former diplomat who was once the ambassador of Japan and the World Trade Organization and co-chaired the G20 Trade and Investment Working Group with China in 2015. This is Jonathan Fried.

This new strategy aims to diversify trade and partnerships in the Indo-Pacific region with the aim of establishing a credible coalition of countries.

Skeptics, long disappointed with the government’s “new Chinese policy,” could, of course, reject this new development just because things remain the same. But broadly speaking, this move is definitely interesting.

But it may not be pleasing to the powerful people who have so far monopolized our “same old” way of dealing with China. For such a strategy to succeed, these people must see their influence in the Chinese debate significantly diminished. In particular, we will mention the Canada China Business Council (CCBC). Its members include both Canadian and Chinese multinationals such as Power Corp., Barrick Gold, Bombardier and Huawei Technologies. Jonathan Manthorpe, author of Claws of the Panda, states that CCBC has been the “major channel of influence in Canada” of the Chinese Communist Party since its establishment in 1978.

Evidence of its impact can be seen in the case of former CCBC President Peter Harder, a former senator who played a key role in Justin Trudeau’s inauguration in 2015. Harder said in June of this year that the Senate defined the persecution of Uighur Muslims by the Chinese administration as a genocide. Canada’s Ambassador to China, Dominic Barton, is a CCBC enthusiast and attends regularly, reiterating all the issues of Ottawa’s organization on China policy.

As Manthorpe summarizes in his stunning study of China’s influence on Canada, “Claws of the Panda,” the central figure in the formation of CCBC was the first director of the East Asian Studies Center at McGill University. He was a scholar named Paul Lin. From 1965 to 1982. He played an important role in facilitating the first diplomatic negotiations between Ottawa and Beijing.

In 1977, Lin was a Montreal-based Power Corp. Paul Desmarais, who is in charge of the project, contacted us about planning a business trip to a trade fair in China in Guangzhou. This facilitated the process leading to the establishment of the CCBC (originally the Canada-China Trade Council) at the request of people like Desmarais and Maurice Strong, then Chief Executive Officers of Petro-Canada. The founding companies included classics such as Manulife Financial Corp., BMO Financial Group, Power Corp., and now the infamous SNC-Lavalin.

This corporate network, especially Power Corp., has established itself as a key advisor to Canada-China relations, focusing on trade and omitting everything else. “In Canada, Power Corp. was the best gatekeeper of the country’s formal relations with China,” wrote Mantorpe.

Indeed, these organizations still play the role of gatekeepers in attempts to absolutely avoid the real problems of values ​​and geopolitics and suppress those who emphasize those problems in the debate over China. .. The more focus on “geopolitical issues” at the expense of Canada’s economic interests is regularly lamented by those with China’s economic interests. Human rights abuses are not a serious moral issue of Western obligations to explain oppressive regimes, but are treated as mere disagreements rather than significant ones. It’s all because of a short-sighted obsession with a single market where it’s not too difficult for Canada to find a more productive and reliable alternative.

Inevitably, a successful Indo-Pacific strategy that transitions from previous doctrine must involve some sort of separation from the increasingly warlike Beijing. With that in mind, the power and fame that CCBC has enjoyed for most of the last 43 years has been a major obstacle.

It’s time to change that. Beijing’s ruthlessness, in which two Canadians were kidnapped and held hostage in the Meng Wanzhou incident, which led to the current frosty state of Canadian-Chinese relations, is more than ever with members of this organization with the communist regime. That’s a good reason to curb the promotion of relationships.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.

Shane Mirror

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Shane Miller is a political writer based in London, Ontario.

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