Members of the Canada-China Business Council, created and financed by the Desmarais clan, wanted to reassure Chinese investors on Wednesday who fear Ottawa will block them on “national security” grounds.
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During the virtual conference in English titled “Canadian restrictions on foreign investment from China”, Sandy Walker, a partner at Dentons, highlighted that national security reviews are still rare in the country.
The expert showed that even if formal security reviews went from two in 2017-2018 to 12 in 2021-2022, this is still small on last year’s 1,255 investments.
In her presentation, Sandy Walker recalled that Ottawa has focused on four sensitive sectors: personal data, technologies, critical minerals, and investments by firms belonging to foreign states.
This meeting of the Canada-China Business Council comes as eyes are on Ottawa, which says it wants to take steps to attract companies “that share our interests and our values.”
Last November, the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, François-Philippe Champagne, wanted to set an example by demanding three Chinese firms to get rid of their balls in lithium companies.
“Government decisions are based on facts and evidence, and taking into account the opinions formulated by specialists in critical minerals, security and intelligence agencies, and government experts in the field,” the minister said.
A month later, he announced his intention to update the investment law for “national security” reasons.
“We will continue to modernize the legal framework in a way that ensures the continued prosperity of the country, while we continue to act decisively on investments that pose a threat to our national security,” he warned.
One month after this shocking statement by Justin Trudeau’s government minister, the Canada-China Business Council wanted to calm things down.
” Subliminal message “
Speaking to investors, former Conservative minister James Moore, now head of the Canada-China Business Council, said Ottawa was trying to send “a message” to Americans.
“There’s a subliminal message in all of this that says, ‘We want to be part of the electric vehicle revolution,'” he said.
Mr Moore went so far as to speak bluntly of a political message “sent from the Prime Minister’s office to the White House”. The newspaper he was unable to speak to the former minister after the event.
According to Yan Cimon, a professor of strategy at Laval University, despite the many cold spots between the two countries, the Canadian economy remains closely tied to the Chinese market and our supply chains depend on it.
“Whether you like China or not, it is an essential player,” he summed up.
Canada-China Business Council
▸ Founding President : late Paul Desmarais
Photo taken from the CCBC website
▸ Honorary president : Andre Desmarais
Photo from powercorporation.com website
▸ Administration Counsel President : Olivier Desmarais
▸ known admins :
James Moore, former Industry Minister
Martin Cauchon, former Minister of Justice
File photo, Martin Chevalier
Power Corporation, a close relationship with China
Power Corporation’s business relationship with China is not new and has its roots in the Canada-China Business Council founded by the Desmarais family in 1978.
Launched at the time by the late Paul Desmarais, former big boss of Power, this business lobby still has André Desmarais, vice president of the Power Corporation, as its honorary president.
As economic relations between China and Canada cool from tensions, Power Corporation continues to build on the relationship it has forged over the years with the Chinese superpower.
For several years, Power Corporation has invested in one of China’s leading fund management companies, China Asset Management Co., Ltd. (China AMC).
Presence in China
Last Thursday, Power announced that it had combined its $1.15 billion stake in ChinaAMC into IGM Financial.
“We are excited to continue our participation in ChinaAMC through our participation in IGM,” R. Jeffrey Orr, Power’s president and chief executive officer, said in a statement.
In addition to this presence there with this fund, Sustainable Power invests in China’s stock exchanges and other companies and has offices there, in Shanghai and Beijing.
Remember that André Desmarais has previously served on the board of directors of CITIC Pacific.
Power Corporation did not respond to an interview request from Registry.
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