Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Verbatim: "It's All China, All The Time"

Terry Glavin recently in The National Post:  "Over the past decade, Canadians have sunk more than $20-billion of mostly public money into port, rail and highway infrastructure on the West Coast, all to expand Canadian trade into Asian economies. The whole point was to diversify our markets and reduce our reliance on the United States. But none of it has worked out like we were told. We’ve been hooped. Ten years and $20-billion later, it’s all China, all the time. China plays by its own trade rules and everybody’s let them get away with it. ... Canada’s collective $20-billion Pacific “gateway” investments have ended up transforming Canada’s West Coast transportation infrastructure into the portal that has enabled Beijing to flood North American markets with goods manufactured in sweatshops where they’ll chuck you in prison if you even wonder aloud what it might be like to belong to an independent labour union. As for free elections or political parties, don’t you dare even think about it. ... And now Canadians are being expected to provide Beijing with a steady supply of bitumen in a closed loop from Beijing’s own oil sands properties in Alberta, through Beijing’s own pipeline, to oil tankers, to its own refineries back in China, so that the black comedy of “world trade” can keep unfolding the way Beijing wants. Not only that, we’re all supposed to be grateful for it. ... The next time some Conservative MP tells you that we should all get down on our hands and knees and thank Enbridge for the $100-million behind its pitch to the National Energy Board for the chance to pour all that Alberta bitumen into China-bound oil-tankers, here’s a question you might ask: Just who’s paying for this? Put another way: “Why is foreign money fueling the oil sands fight?” Six years have passed since Enbridge first announced it had obtained $100-million to fund its planning, lobbying, studies and surveys for a twinned pipeline through the Rocky Mountains and across British Columbia to saltwater at Kitimat. First it was all PetroChina’s money, then we were told PetroChina got spooked, and then it was somebody else’s money, but we’re not allowed to know whose money it is. Do the Conservatives even know whose money is behind the Enbridge plan? If not, why not? If so, why aren’t they telling us? Stop and think about it for a second. After all these years, and after all the recent uproars about sinister American environmentalists, it took filings with the National Energy Board that were turned up only this month to reveal that Beijing’s very own Sinopec is accompanied by Suncor, Cenovus, Nexen and MEG among the Enbridge project’s big-money backers. That still leaves at least $40-million in boost-and-plan cash that’s coming from an unknown source. But before we even start asking questions about who came up with Enbridge’s final $40-million, a closer look at the $60-million stake we already know about reveals Sinopec is not the only Chinese government outfit that’s paying Enbridge’s bills. MEG is already partly owned by the Chinese National Offshore Oil Corporation. CNOOC also owns a third of Nexen’s Long Lake oil sands project, and CNOOC and Nexen recently formed a joint venture on several deepwater exploration wells in the Gulf of Mexico. The Enbridge-backer Suncor is a part-owner, with Sinopec and Nexen, of the huge oil sands Syncrude conglomerate. ... It’s gotten to the point that not a single politician in Ottawa will muster the impudence to wonder aloud whether this charade has gone on long enough. Right after Mr. Harper declared in his ritual year-end interview, “I am very serious about selling our oil off this continent, selling our energy products to China,” Beijing’s PetroChina spent $1.9-billion on a complete takeover of the MacKay River oil sands project. And right after that, Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver allowed himself to be cajoled into making certain intemperate remarks about radical foreign “billionaire socialists,” by which he did not mean the unelected billionaires who run the Chinese People’s Congress in Beijing, but rather American matinee idols who enjoy heli-skiing vacations in the Kootenay Mountains. “The servility of Canada’s political leaders (municipal, provincial and federal) to the obvious manipulations of Chinese strategists who flaunt world trade and financial market principles and jail democracy-promoting authors for 10-year terms is a national disgrace.” I’ll say. It wasn’t some dweebish umbrage-taker from the Kitsilano Civil Liberties Union who wrote those words. It was Tony Campbell, the former head of the Intelligence Assessment Secretariat for the Privy Council Office. Remember the Richard Fadden controversy? Seems like only yesterday that everybody was screaming at the head of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, demanding that he shut up. Fadden almost lost his job. Why? Among other revelations, Fadden reported that cabinet ministers in two provinces were under the control of a certain foreign government that Fadden thought it too indelicate to name, but he did go on to say that Chinese diplomatic missions are funding and organizing political activism in Canada. And I haven’t even got my boots on yet." (Verbatim articles are edited only as to length.)