Letter to the Editor

Many Canadians do not like the increasing level of foreign ownership in Canada. China is of special concern. Canada’s forests, lands, mines, and oil and gas resources constitute a glittering prize that China would really like to get hold of.

Table 179-0004 of Statistics Canada provides information on foreign ownership. Out of some 200 countries in the world, only six countries are listed in this table: the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, the Netherlands, and Japan. Additional countries are lumped together in one of several groups, but names of countries are not given.

The absence of China by name in Table 179-0004 is a giant and glaring omission, creating a strong suspicion of cover-up and dishonesty in the governing of Canada.

Everyone knows that a Chinese state-owned company purchased Nexen of Calgary, in February 2013, for $15.1 billion. If nothing else, a government that tries to hide this type of deal by not mentioning China in Table 179-0004 makes itself look like a bunch of fools.

I made an application under the Access to Information Act for information on China and inclusion in Table 179-0004. I was turned down on the basis of Section 17 of the Statistics Act. This section of the act essentially says in this example that if information on China were to be added, it would be possible for an unauthorized person to identify a specific individual or business.

But such identification could only occur if a foreign country’s ownership of Canadian assets consists of a small number of companies. Foreign ownership by the Netherlands is probably smaller than that of China. Yet the Netherlands is listed in Table 179-0004 and China is not. This situation is high farce, a joke.

As an example, foreign ownership of Canadian mining assets by all foreign countries grew nearly four times faster than Canadian ownership from 1999 to 2010. And according to Table 376-0051, where information on China is included, China’s yearly foreign direct investment in Canada grew by a factor of 153 from 1991 to 2012.

Section 17 of the Statistics Act is trivial in comparison with two fundamental guiding principles: common sense and natural law.

It is simple common sense that the people of Canada must be told how much of the Canadian economy is owned or controlled by China. Secrecy and censorship applied to this issue is counterproductive and makes it easy to imagine that China already controls Canadian government policy.

BusinessDictionary.com explains natural law as:

“[The] ideal of perfect law based on equity, fairness, and reason, by which all man-made laws are to be measured. Natural law can be deduced through reasoning and the moral sense of what is right or wrong.”

“Equity, fairness, and reason,” and “reasoning and the moral sense of what is right or wrong,” tell us again that the Canadian people must be told how much of the Canadian economy is owned by China.

Our government’s past and present dealings with China have been ill-advised and very damaging to Canada. But the China policy is only one of at least half a dozen fundamental policies that are headed in exactly the wrong direction, all with the passive acceptance of the Liberals and NDP.

The political system consisting of the Conservatives, Liberals, and NDP does not recognize the ‘real’ unemployment that is thirty-five to forty per cent higher than the official government figure of seven and a half percent. This ‘real’ figure is the ‘R8’ figure that is readily found on the Statistics Canada website. In this ‘real’ statistic, 1.8 million Canadians are unemployed.

Even this ‘real’ figure is not telling the whole story. Continually sending manufacturing activity away to foreign countries for fifty years has impoverished the Canadian economy. The result is the disappearance of jobs in many areas of the economy, not only in manufacturing. On top of the 1.8 million figure, there are 4.9 million Canadians who are not in the workforce. In a ‘normal’ economy supported by an adequate level of manufacturing, possibly an additional million out of this 4.9 million group would be at work. So, facing up to the darkest reality, effectively 2.8 million Canadians are unemployed today.

This figure demonstrates the depth of destruction to our economy. Meanwhile our political system operates on a completely superficial level, truly a case of fiddling while Rome burns.

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