Red hot summer

While the honouring of Norman Bethune continues to cause a minor fuss, Elizabeth May questions Canada’s relationship to China.

In the House, explaining why Bill C-38 must be passed, the Prime Minister said it was in order ‘to provide certainty to investors.’ (May 10, 2012). What investors would those be? In the last few years direct ownership of Alberta oil sands by Chinese state-owned oil companies has gone from nearly nothing to over $12 billion. Chinese money is already invested in the Enbridge pipeline and tanker scheme, Petro-China wants to build the pipeline, and Suncor is talking about using lowerwaged Chinese temporary workers–just in time to drive down wages and environmental standards. Sinopec is the fifth largest corporation in the world with a board of directors appointed by the Chinese Communist polit-bureau. And now Sinopec’s 9% share in Syncrude has given it veto power over any future decision to refine Syncrude bitumen in Canada, rather than put it in tankers…

So, back to that wonderful transmission of values through trade. Does anyone else notice that it seems to be working? Canada is absorbing Chinese values respecting human rights, labour laws, and environmental protections. It is indeed a national disgrace.




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Red hot summer

  1. You know, I’m liking Liz more and more…

    • Well Liz should get her facts straight. Suncor will only be using “lowerwaged Chinese workers” if they can’t find enough Canadians to do the job….which is an issue in Alberta. Also, maybe there will be some Canadians who are on EI that will be building this pipeline. As for lowerwaged Chinese workers “driving down environmental standards”‘ in Canada? How is that even possible because local government inspectors will be monitoring the pipeline to ensure that provincial standards are maintained. Is Liz suggesting that her home province of BC would drop their environmental standards because “lowerwaged” foreign workers were working on the project. Not very complementary of your home province Liz.

      • Good points, though the veto power over domestic refining by Sinopec would still be a concern. Not that I’m sure that we should refine our own bitumen mind you, but I don’t like the idea of communists determining whether we do or not.

      • So each province has it’s own pipeline standards? Shouldn’t there be one standard?

        • The NEB regulates interprovincial and international pipelines. Within BC, its the BC Oil and Gas Commission,within AB its the Energy Resources Conservation Board etc. Then Fed regs over waterways etc.

          Pipeline and related facilities design(engineering) fall under common standards – in Canada for example the CSA (Canadian Standards Association) including- ASME (American Association of Mechanical Engineers) , API (American Petroleum Institute). etc.

          Then each province has professional standards associations (ie Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta ) though there is a move to have common provincial registration.

          I believe the argument that lower environmental standards would result could only be applicable (if at all) if fabrication of equipment, modules etc occurred in China.

          I think already some large modules for the oil sands are sourced in places such as South Korea.

          • Even then Dot, once the fabricated material came to Canada it would be subject to inspection by Canadian inspectors just like the Peace bridge in Calgary was. It was fabricated in a foreign country and it did not pass inspection in Canada. The welds were poorly done and had to be redone.

          • Well, my point really was that whatever was built would need to Canadian standards, inspection, and sign-off by the responsible Canadian registered PEng – both in the design phase and final acceptance.

            I’m surprised with the Peace Bridge that the City did not have third party inspectors at the foreign facility where it was fabricated to avoid the rework here.

        • What do you mean like building standards? I am sure the standards are universal but every province has their own inspectors. Surely that is understood, just as every municipality has its own inspectors when it comes to construction. I still don’t understand how the nationality of the work crew changes the standards that will be acceptable to the inspectors, which are Canadians and in the employ of the individual provinces. Perhaps you can explain that you me Jan. For instance, the Peace bridge debacle in Calgary was in example where much of the bridge was constructed in a foreign country and when the finished pieces returned to Canada, inspectors here refused to approve the welds because they were shoddy and had to be redone by Canadian welders. Thus, it is ridiculous to suggest that Canadian inspectors, envronmental or otherwise would LOWER what is acceptable because foreigners are part of the work crew.

  2. LOL so the left is anti-China, and the right is pro-China.

    Interesting world

    • Yes considering Jean Chretien was such a fan of China. What has happened?

      • Chretien is a Lib, not a leftie….he never went nuts over Bethune, but he did go on trade missions. Libs are middle ground.

        • In some ways the Chretien/Martin Liberals were right of Mulroney bringing in spending cuts and corporate tax cuts he could only dream of (ones, in fact, they fought against in opposition.) I consider myself a Keynesian centrist and I think the reason the Liberal vote collapsed was because they shifted too far to the right, becoming red Tories. Now it looks like the NDP (with a former-Liberal leader) are moving into the middle ground.

          • You have to prepare people for things…..the country was not prepared for major cutbacks in Mulroney’s time….they were by Chretien’s time.

            This has been a problem before….people weren’t prepared for metric either…so we still have nonsensical measurement rules.

    • I’m still anti-China, though I’ve become convinced that trade is better than sanctions in affecting change in despotic regimes. At least, general sanctions seem to be a disaster, strengthening despotic regimes rather than weakening them.

      • So you are advocating a trade mission to North Korea?

        • Yes.

      • If there’s $ to be made in increasing the stranglehold of the chinese business/political elite on it’s citizens, let’s make some $ for ourselves while they do it, eh? EH!

    • The Harper Cons recently built a $2.5M museum commemorating a Canadian communist who supported Mao’s Cultural Revolution to brown-nose the Chinese. If the Liberals or NDP had done anything like that one can just imagine what the Cons would be saying…

      • If you mean Norman Bethune, he died about 30 years before the Cultural Revolution.

        • I stand corrected. According to Wikipedia:

          “In January 1938 Bethune … joined the Chinese Communists led by Mao Zedong in their struggle against the Japanese invaders. …
          In China, Bethune performed emergency battlefield surgical operations on war casualties and established training for doctors, nurses and orderlies. He did not distinguish between casualties.”

  3. Liz remains a windbag, but she’s right to question the “investment” China is making in the oil sands. We should not allow foreign governments or sovereign wealth funds to invest directly in ANY of our industries, for the same reason we eschew direct public investment from our own government. A private company, at very least, wishes to maximize profits. A state-owned entity might well be serving a larger political/economic purpose, and its aim may be to sell the resource at the lowest possible price, not the highest.

  4. For the record, Peter Lougheed has for a long time encouraged investment in the oil sands industries PROVIDED:

    1) The state owned Chinese companies do not take a controlling interest (limited to 49%) in a project/entity
    2) The produced oil/bitumen is still freely traded -ie not removed from the free market by designating it dedicated to China (as is what they are doing worldwide in a number of resources).

    So, the fact that it is Chinese investment should not, in itself, cause concern.

    The Syncrude veto, however, is odd. The free marketers would argue that if the best option economically was to ship the unrefined and diluted bitumen to China, then there would be no need for this clause. So, perhaps Sinopec’s pulled a fast one on other Syncrude partners, especially if it extends to beyond its 9% share (less AB royalty). If it’s just limited to its 9% take, it would seem to me within its rights, commercially, assuming of course there is a pipeline to get it there. Which may be a big assumption.

  5. Asinine. Harper is an utter stupid fool. Other country’s are furious with Harper and his sucking up to Communist China. We don’t want anything to do with Communist China. Good grief!! Communist China hacked into other country’s secret files. This is damned well Treason, and that’s exactly what other country’s are saying. Harper is a very dangerous fool.

    These are the facts, right from Harper’s big fat mouth. He is permitting Communist China to buy up huge chunks of the tar sands, and has been for a long time now. Harper permitted China to bring their own people, to work the tar sands. Harper is permitting Communist China, to bring swarms over, to build the Enbridge pipeline. Canadians don’t even get the refining jobs. Those jobs go to China too. We heard about Harper’s underhanded sneak deal, a long time ago.

    Fadden of CSIS warned. Communist China is making huge intrusions into Canada. He mentioned BC, because Gordon Campbell sold BC out to Communist China too. We were also warned, if Harper wins his so called majority, we can kiss Canada good-bye. And that’s exactly what is happening.

    The dirty tar sands do nothing for the Canadian people, what-so-ever. Harper, Redford and the greedy giant oil and gas corporations, are who really benefits. That is the dirtiest oil on the planet. Going to the most polluted country on this earth. Harper plans to make trillions. He and MacKay have a grandiose idea of, turning Canada into a military super power, while other country’s die laughing at him. We know damned well. If Redford gave Christy Clark money. Not one cent would go to the BC people. Everything of value, has been thieved and sold. Nor, do we forget Harper’s part in the destruction of BC.

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