Wednesday, January 18, 2012

A Matter Of Misinterpretation.

Letter to the Editor, Ottawa Citizen:

I believe Terry Glavin misinterpreted my comments in his column on Chinese investment in the oilsands. I called for urgent political leadership not on what he characterizes as "China's deepening influence in the Canadian economy" but on "a Canadian response to the shift in global power towards Asia."

I think Glavin's assault on foreign investment in Canada is as flawed as the vilification of overseas funding for environmental causes that he has taken issue with. Major infrastructure projects such as the Northern Gateway should be assessed in the national interest, and foreign involvement (in all of its forms) should not be considered as a priori negative.

- Yuen Pau Woo, Vancouver, B.C.

Yuen Pau Woo is the president of the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada. I could have described him as the head of the now-entrenched faction in the foundation that supports Chinese state-owned corporations taking over Canada's natural-resource infrastructure, but I didn't, because I am both charming and gallant.

Mr. Woo objects to the way I characterized the "national debate" we both appear to agree Canada should be having, and fair play to him, but I would point out that I merely characterized the issue more accurately and without his boosterish inflection.

More to the point, Mr. Woo knows very well that it is untrue to assert that my column was "on Chinese investment in the oilsands." It was no such thing. It was a column on Chinese state-owned corporations' investments in the oilsands.

As for "Glavin's assault on foreign investment in Canada," this is more than mere misinterpretation, and Mr. Woo is well aware of that, too. Nowhere, not in that particular column or anywhere else, have I raised even the mildest objections to foreign investment in Canada. I don't object to foreign investment, and I most certainly did not subject foreign investment to an "assault," in that column or anywhere else.

Mr. Woo is engaging in a deliberate and cunning misrepresentation here. He is conflating mere foreign investment in Canada with the Beijing police state's growing ownership and control of Canada's energy sector infrastructure. This is the rhetorical feint that is precisely the means by which Beijing has been able to get away with it, by which anyone who has the cheek to notice is dismissed by misrepresentation approaching slander, and by which we are all made to shut up and behave ourselves.

We do appear to agree on a couple of important points, though: Canada's so-called northern gateway should be "assessed in the national interest," and "foreign involvement (in all of its forms) should not be considered as a priori negative."

It logically follows that Mr. Woo will now write stern letters to newspaper editors to assert that Prime Minister Stephen Harper and B.C. Premier Christy Clark are wrong to be raising mobs with pikes against shadowy "foreign" environmentalists. I await the appearance of these letters, eagerly.

You're welcome,



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