Chinese investment in real estate a form of economic warfare – analyst

by Ephraim Vecina on 02 Aug 2017
The ever-growing presence of Chinese investments in Canada—and especially in Metro Vancouver—leads to some perfectly valid, if rather disquieting, questions as to what mainland investors exactly want from Canada aside from its property, according to Vancouver Sun columnist Douglas Todd.

In a recent piece, Todd cited various studies that placed the amount of Chinese real estate investment in Metro Vancouver at $13 billion in 2015 alone, representing approximately one-third of the national total that year.

“The large-scale financial speculation from China comes at a time when scholars increasingly maintain foreign investment in real estate is not a productive or healthy form of investment for Canadians, many of whom struggle with unaffordable housing costs,” Todd wrote.

The situation is made even more complicated by the fact that it is not only wealthy Chinese who are coming in droves, but also massive corporate entities like China Investment Corp., which has made a $1.7 billion investment in Vancouver mining company Teck Resources.

In turn, Teck Resources has donated over $2 million to the B.C. Liberal Party, a development which has led to Dermod Travis of Integrity B.C. suggesting that the government of China is, for all intents and purposes, donating to a Canadian political party.

“So much for national sovereignty. So much for protecting Canadian politicians from outside money,” Todd lamented. “This, even while China’s human rights abuses are too numerous to mention… It’s naive to think China’s interest in Canada is completely harmless.”

“We should not deny the myriad ways the corporate arms of any superpower, like the U.S., can externally influence a medium power like Canada,” the columnist warned. “Economic occupation has long been a domination strategy, exemplified in the 20th century by the U.S.’s incursion into Latin America.”

The entirety of Todd’s thought-provoking piece can be viewed here.

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