They Thought They Were So Bloody Clever.
To know anything about the extreme peril Canada has been drawn into lately you need to roll back the tape to September, 2009. That was the beginning of a sort of experiment that certain cabinet ministers (who have since decamped to more lucrative sinecures) thought it would be amusing to run on the Investment Canada Act, by amendment and quiet regulation: Hey, let's see what happens if we try to turn Canada into one of those postmodernist dystopias where nothing is objective, everything is a social construction, and national security is whatever Dear Leader says.
Well, I hope you're pleased with yourselves now, because the Khomeinists' lifeline to nukes is now Canada's 'lifeline to economic prosperity' in China.
Experiment Result Number 1: A rapid succession of weirdly generous and way-above-market offers for key Alberta oilsands properties has now established a wholly unearned and privileged place in Canada's energy sector for the acquisitions arms of that vast military-industrial complex known as the Government of the People's Republic of China, I've already set it out the grisly details here.
Experiment Result Number 2: I set it out in my column in today's Ottawa Citizen (which has been picked up by today's National Post with an even better headline - 'Canada's Iran Sanctions Stop at the Alberta Oilpatch'): Prime Minister Stephen Harper is now inches away from fatally undermining Canada’s own sanctions against the Khomeinist regime in Tehran after throwing Alberta’s oilsands wide open to Beijing-owned corporations running multi-billion-dollar joint ventures in Iran’s energy sector. As in Petro-China, as in CNOOC, and mostly, as in the Enbridge pipeline financier and Syncrude veto-holder Sinopec.
Former Justice Minister Irwin Cotler weighs in, as does Israeili President Shimon Peres's guy in Canada Arie Raif, the slightly more Bibi-Netanyahu-friendly CIJA board headed by Shimon Fogel (who is a damn good man) and Sheryl Saperia of the Foundation for Defence of Democracies, who pointed me to the relevant bits in the law.
Now that Professor Einstein and Doctor Pavlov have moved on, it fell to Industry Minister Christian Paradis February 9 to misspeak, or misinform, or misguide the House of Commons. His Parliamentary Secretary, Edmonton MP Mike Lake, was left to try and pick up the pieces in the House this past Wednesday, which just made things worse. All set out here. Mr. Lake ended up looking like one of those Parliament Hill types who are always obsessively fiddling with their Blackberries. He left Minister Paradis looking like a fire chief who hadn't read the bit in his job description about seeing to it that people's houses don't burn down.
The upshot is this. In Alberta, where they used to scream about Ottawa nationalizing the oilpatch with that Maoist nightmare Petro-Canada, now it's Petro-China instead and it's Beijing that's doing the nationalizing. Bloody money corrupts everything it touches, and the container-loads of cash suddenly circulating in this country come from the same cold-eyed autocrats who were ordering live rounds to be fired into crowds of unarmed Tibetan monks while they were making kissy face with Prime Minister Harper, in China, only last week.
Canada's own version of Dear Leader now gets to decide what the words "national security" mean, what a threat to national security is, what the word "threat" means and whether national security is even involved in any of this at all. When it comes to protecting Canada's national interests in the matter of multi-billion-dollar takeover strategies run out of the politburo in Beijing, the Dear Leader with the foreign money portfolio in the current politburo configuration in Ottawa is Christian Paradis.
The Bill C-30 ruckus is a sideshow, as the wise Robert Fulford has effortlessly made plain. Comrade Minister Paradis is the guy who now gets to make stuff up as he goes along by the shiny seat of his own committee-going pants, unburdened of annoying legal “definitions,” or "objective criteria," or indeed any irritating obligations at all regarding "transparency." After all, in the words of the Investment Canada Act regulations that Cabinet does not want you to notice, that would “limit the government’s flexibility.”
And after all, who would want a “Criminal Code” with all its nuisance definitions encumbering the “flexibility” of Public Safety Minister Vic Toews or the RCMP? If the hoi-polloi insist on having foreign-power takeovers subjected to national security reviews conducted according to "concrete, objective and transparent criteria,” the next thing you know the proles will be demanding open courtrooms, fair trials, rules of evidence and habeas corpus.
And thus it came to pass that for starters, the Special Economic Measures Act (SEMA), the statute that is supposed to enforce Canada's sanctions against the nuke-wanting ayatollahs in Tehran, was end-run, up-ended, and rendered moot. It is why, when Foreign Minister John Baird can rightly claim that Canada's Iran sanctions under SEMA are the toughest in the world, Irwin Cotler is forced to observe: “But we are now in a situation where we are not even taking our own sanctions seriously.”
That's just where it starts. There will be more here soon.
Elswhere, I see Andrew Nikiforuk at The Tyee has put together a disturbing and quite thorough profile of the ghastly global juggernaut Sinopec that Prime Minister Harper has so foolishly drawn to his bosom: The Sinopec File. I was once a Tyee columnist, and while I rarely have cause to look in on what they're up to over there, when I do I look for Andy. Today, his stuff is tremendous.