The Wall Street Journal details China’s investment push into Canada, where Chinese companies prefer to send Chinese nationals to cultivate ties with Native American groups known as “First Nations” as they pursue resource and other development projects. Such relationships have caught the eye of Canadian intelligence, according to the report:
Chinese investors appear to be wagering that a physical presence is one way to reassure Canadians of their intentions. That is the case when dealing with Canada’s First Nations, said Jerry Xie, executive vice president of China Gold International Resources Ltd., the Canadian-based unit of state-owned China National Gold.
“If the project is located in the First Nations territory, you have to deal with them,” he said.
Canadian intelligence officials have hinted in recent years of concern about possible Chinese influence over provincial politicians. More recently agents have focused on recent Chinese contacts with First Nations groups.
Merle Alexander, a partner at Vancouver-based law firm Bull, Housser & Tupper LLP, said he was approached by the Canadian Security and Intelligence Service after giving a presentation on First Nation-Chinese deal-making at a conference in Edmonton, Alberta. Mr. Alexander has been interviewed by CSIS operatives twice, most recently last fall.