IT’S NOT the Enbridge pipeline itself that dominates Terry Glavin’s concern, it’s who controls the oil that would run through it.
And much of that control firmly rests of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China which dominates that country’s economic activity through an increasingly-aggressive network of state-owned enterprises.
Glavin, a Victoria-based author and columnist, has spent the last while looking at the close connections between the Chinese state and its large corporations and those corporations become part of China’s foreign policy.
There’s a straight line from Chinese companies such as Sinopec, who would own a portion of the oil that would flow through Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline, and dealings with oppressive countries such as Syria and Iran, he says.
That combined with Canadian government eagerness to sell energy to China and the rapid growth of Chinese involvement in the Canadian energy sector has put the spotlight on this region, Glavin continues.
“Who knew Terrace and Rupert and places like that would become so important in geopolitics as Tel Aviv, Brussels and Washington, DC?” said Glavin.
“What I’m saying is that’s what you’re up against,” Glavin continued of a Canadian government and corporate shift toward China.
Glavin says the intertwining of Chinese and Canadian energy interests began five years ago when foreign ownership regulations were relaxed.
Definitions of national security are also now set by cabinet ministers and not as a result of a full-scale review, he adds.
Chinese influence in Canadian affairs now includes participation in Canadian economic and political think tanks employing former politicians, Glavin continued.
“It’s really important for people to think about what is going on,” he said.
Glavin’s also disturbed by suggestions from the federal government that any criticism at any level of projects such as Northern Gateway is anti-Chinese.
“I don’t think we are all Sinophobes,” said Glavin of the term meaning anti-Chinese.
He said there is a lot to admire in China, citing the mass transition of 200 to 300 million people from poverty to middle class in the past 10 to 15 years.
But there are also workers making the most minimum of wages who are being prevented from forming independent labour unions, Glavin said.
“Our Prime Minister goes to China and while he is there, the communist party is putting live rounds into crowds of Tibetan monks,” Glavin adds.
Glavin speaks at a free lecture March 14 beginning at 7:30 p.m. at Skeena Junior Secondary School. He speaks the next night at the same time at Charles Hays Secondary School in Prince Rupert.