There was no joy in Oozeville this week as the feds kiboshed Aecon’s $1.5-billion sellout to China’s CCCC International Holding Ltd. (CCCI) on national security grounds.
The Middle Kingdom’s ambassador Lu Shaye was characteristically pissy, warning of dire consequences for the Liberals’ unreasoning xenophobia: “I think it will definitely send negative signals to the market, especially it will attack the confidence of the Chinese investors who want to invest in Canada.”
To hear His Excellency tell it, caveats about CCCI’s hair-raising safety record, penchant for industrial espionage and naughty past of bribery and collusion (its eight-year ban from World Bank projects for bid-rigging expired last year), have been nothing more than misguided attempts “to weaken the competitiveness of Chinese enterprises by defamation.”
When Lu repeatedly assured that the Aecon deal was strictly commercial and win-win, he was in a position to know, since the People’s Basic Dictatorship owns 63 per cent of the company and installs government members on its board.
Also wearing this failure to launch, CCCI’s lobbyist, Liz Roscoe, the Hill + Knowlton lizard queen who did such bang-up job for China National Offshore Oil Corporation, smoothing the way for their $15.1-billion takeover of oilpatch behemoth Nexen, with a cheery wave (shurely ‘waive’?!–ed.) from President Steve.
The ubiquitous Roscoe, readers may recall, volunteered her expertise on the Harper transition team in ’06, helping appoint cabinet and PMO staff.
On her way out the door, she registered to lobby those grateful Tory sluggos on behalf of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters. Cue the opposition shitstorm and a hasty closing of a loophole to extend the five-year lobbying ban for political staff to the volunteer members of the transition team — the Roscoe Amendment as it came to be known.
Our Chinese friends hired the oleaginous insider last fall, and she promptly registered to creep the relevant arses in the House of Commons, Global Affairs Canada, Innovation Science and Economic Development Canada, PMO and PCO.
Alas, Liz’s monthly communication reports filed with the lobbying commish indicate no conspicuous hustle on the file since a sit-down last October with Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains‘ chief of staff Gianluca Cairo, departmental ADM Paul Halucha and Privy Council Clerk Michael Wernick.
She managed to buttonhole Halucha for a follow-up in December, but in 2018 has so far avoided any documented contact with the, er, government, billing her Chinese overlords instead for doing lunch with old Conservative cronies (Tony Clement, Ed Fast and Erin O’Toole on March 21; and Gord Brown on May 1, the day before the well-regarded backbencher died of a heart attack).