The disturbing push of aggressive Chinese state capitalism

Port of Chongqing
CHONGQING – I snapped this picture while covering Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s 2012 visit to Chongqing. One of the first shipments of frozen Canadian pork that had been allowed into China had just arrived at Chongqing’s massive port — it’s the one with the Canadian flag on it — and Canadian and Chinese officials were heralding its arrival as a sign of a new commercial relationship between the two countries. Later that day, Harper would sign the agreement to bring two pandas to Canada. (DAVID AKIN / QMI Agency)

Heriberto Araújo and Juan Pablo Cardenal are the authors of China’s Silent Army: The Pioneers, Traders, Fixers and Workers Who Are Remaking The World in Beijing’s Image. Today in the New York Times, they have a long interesting piece in which they argue that China’s “state capitalism” represents a real threat to the West and to the values — the rule of law, political freedom and fair competition — important to the West. And Canada — “a progressive bastion” — gets a prominent mention:

Europeans and Americans [and Canadians for that matter] tend to fret over Beijing’s assertiveness in the South China Sea, its territorial disputes with Japan, and cyberattacks on Western firms, but all of this is much less important than a phenomenon that is less visible but more disturbing: the aggressive worldwide push of Chinese state capitalism…

Continue reading The disturbing push of aggressive Chinese state capitalism

China in the oil patch? Trudeau has thumbs up. Mulcair thumbs down. Harper? Who knows?

CALGARY – Liberal Party of Canada’s leadership candidate, Justin Trudeau, holds up a message after speaking to students at Mount Royal University on Tuesday Nov 20, 2012. (Darren Makowichuk/Calgary Sun/QMI AGENCY)

The Chinese state-owned firm CNOOC (China National Offshore Oil Corporation) has a $15-billion bid on the table to buy under-performing Calgary based oil-and gas producer Nexen.

Quebec Liberal MP and leadership candidate candidate Justin Trudeau had this to say about the deal in an op-ed distributed today to the Postmedia papers. (He approves): Continue reading China in the oil patch? Trudeau has thumbs up. Mulcair thumbs down. Harper? Who knows?

NDP Nexen decision a boneheaded political move

Today, the federal NDP held a Parliament Hill press conference during which MPs Peter Julian and Hélène LeBlanc announced, for the first time, that New Democrats believe the federal government ought to reject a $15-billion bid by the Chinese state-owned firm CNOOC for the Calgary-based oil-and-gas producer Nexen. 

In doing this, they certainly have public opinion on their side. Two Abacus Data polls commissioned by Sun News Network show the idea of the Chinese taking over Nexen is deeply unpopular in every region of the country and among supporters of all parties. (Poll 1 | Poll 2)

This was a boneheaded move politically from a party that, in my judgement, has made some otherwise very smart moves to counter any number of stereotypes its political opponents are trying to foster that an NDP government would kill jobs, investment and prosperity.

Continue reading NDP Nexen decision a boneheaded political move

So, President Kikwete, can you help us work through our Nexen problem?

Jakaya Kikwete and Stephen Harper
OTTAWA – Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete “schools me” after I asked today how his government would handle a foreign investment opportunity from a country that doesn’t share Tanzania’s and Canada’s democratic values. This pic was snapped in 237-C of the House of Commons by PMO photographer Jason Ransom.

The Tanzanian President, Jakaya Kikwete, is in Canada this week on an official visit. This afternoon, after meeting with Prime Minister Stephen Harper, the two men took some questions from reporters. The press were allotted a total of four questions, two from each country’s press corps. The Canadian press corps gets further subdivided into one English-language question and one French-language question. Hélène Buzzetti of Le Devoir asked the French-language question,  a question that was really only for Harper as it was about the Port of Montreal. The English-language reporters — CP, Bloomberg, Toronto Star, Reuters, Postmedia and Sun — came to a consensus that we wanted to ask Harper about the Nexen deal and I drew the straw to put the question to the PM. But, given that Tanzania also relies heavily on foreign investment to develop its resource sector, I thought it would be interesting to hear President Kikwete’s views on how Tanzania handles investment proposals from companies that originate in countries, like China, that do not share Tanzania’s democratic values.  Continue reading So, President Kikwete, can you help us work through our Nexen problem?

Hu meets Harper: What they did and didn't talk about

Prime Minister Stephen Harper had a one-on-one meeting with China’s President Hu Jintao here in Vladivostok, Russia on the margins of the annual APEC summit.

The two met for 30 minutes with a bevy of officials on either side.

According to Canadian officials inside the room, there was no specific mention of the following: Continue reading Hu meets Harper: What they did and didn't talk about