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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Who is setting Canada's foreign policy?

Published: Wednesday, May 21, 2008

National Post: George Jonas asks why democracies such as Canada do Beijing's bidding when it comes to democratic Taiwan. Why did Foreign Minister Maxime Bernier declare that a March 22 referendum in Taiwan on applying for membership in the United Nations "needlessly escalates tensions across the [Taiwan] Strait," but had no similar reprimand for China's 1,300 missiles aimed -- and some fired -- at Taiwan? Why does Canada feel it has any right to declare Taiwan to be a part of China when Taiwan has never been part of the PRC? How would Canada feel if, for example, the Australian prime minister signed a "One America Policy" with George W. Bush, declaring Canada to be part of the United States?

Is trade the trump card that China uses to keep Canada in line? Unlikely, considering that the huge imbalance of trade is an ace in Canada's hand, and China would die economically without our raw materials to feed her factories. However, there are a few Canadian companies whose profits depend on pleasing Beijing, and these companies have proven influential across several governments. Their interests are represented by the Canada China Business Council (CCBC), an influential pro-China lobby group whose Web site (www.ccbc.com) is sponsored by Power Corporation. CCBC directors are drawn from the ranks of politicians, diplomats and bureaucrats, and Power Corporation is an owner of CITIC Pacific, one of China's largest companies, whose interests include steel, property, aviation, civil infrastructure and coal-fired power plants (whose carbon emissions are conveniently exempt from Kyoto restraints).

Could the profitability of a few well-connected companies be the reason why Canada is selling out the democratic will of 23 million Taiwanese?

Alastair Gordon, president, Canadian Coalition for Democracies, Toronto.

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