Saturday, February 04, 2012
China is still a police state, but we have long had economic relationships with this communist country. My friend Terry Glavin worries about selling oilsands to China. I like Lawrence's Solomon 's take on the issue. bo or the new President needs to buy our oil. What does Harper want with this government, about which he cannot have any illusions — he is, after all, the only Canadian prime minister in memory who has shown spine in his dealings with China. Harper travels not as a supplicant, as did former Prime Minister Jean Chrétien and his Team Canada of businessmen, but from a position of power, the leader of a country whose resources China, among others, covets. The itinerary for the Harper trip mostly reads like a goodwill foray — signing of “co-operation agreements,” a visit to the panda zoo, sealskin attire to promote Newfoundland jobs and other made-for-photo-op occasions. Harper hopes the Chinese will formally agree not to plunder Canadians who invest in China but he must know that China signs such agreements easily, and then fails to enforce them. The takeaways from Harper’s trip to China — apart from the pandas that will soon visit Canada — have little to do with China proper. By promoting seal products, Harper will show Newfoundlanders he is standing up for their culture. By being respectful to China, Harper will please the large and chauvinistic Chinese-Canadian community. Mostly, however, Harper is going to China to impress upon the U.S. the danger of taking Canada for granted.