Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Burton: Canada must smarten up on its China policy

"When former officials enrich themselves with Beijing’s money, once they’re no longer managing China-related policy, it raises huge questions about whether these people had been compromised in defending Canada’s national interests vis-à-vis China while in office. A post-retirement second career, trading on their China-related “friendships” cultivated in government service, is just not OK.
Multi-ethnic nations such as Canada should encourage citizens of Chinese origin to seek political office; we need legislatures that reflect our diversity. But the sole legitimate function of a politician is to serve the purposes of their nation of citizenship. Any politicians with divided loyalties who spend a lot of time in China for vaguely defined purposes should not have a voice in policymaking impinging on the interests of China in Canada.
And, obviously, Canadian political parties should not be accepting funding from foreign sources, indirectly or otherwise. Most Western nations’ think tanks that advise on China relations routinely accept funding from China-related sources. And our media often provide an influential platform to apologist pundits whose grants and China travel are on Beijing’s dime through “exchanges.”
Canada indeed urgently needs a lot more expertise on China so we can better realize our interests with that country, but we should pay for it ourselves."