Canada has no plans to withdraw shares in China-led bank despite no job creation

Canada acquired $256 million in shares in the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) with the promise of job creation. It has yet to document any job creation or set a deadline to withdraw that investment. 

Canada has no plans to withdraw shares in China-led bank despite no job creation
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A whistleblower with the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) says Canada’s involvement has not earned them any tangible value.

Parliament in 2017 passed the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank Agreement Act that permitted the Department of Finance to buy up to US$375 million worth of Bank shares on a promise of "thousands upon thousands of Canadian jobs," according to then-Finance Minister Bill Morneau.

The AIIB, founded in 2016, is a multilateral development bank that Canada joined in March 2018. Canada acquired $256 million in shares over five years as the bank's first North American member. 

However, it has yet to document any job creation, reported Blacklock’s Reporter. No deadline has been set for Canada to withdraw its funds. 

According to a Canadian former executive at the bank named Bob Pickard, China brandished G7 countries like Canada as "trophy members" to attract Western capital and mitigate foreign policy blowback. The AIIB is widely considered the "rival to the World Bank" and other financial institutions in the West.

"I felt that [Canada's] membership in this organization was not giving this country a single thing of tangible value that we could proudly explain to people here in our country, that their membership in the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank would be delivering them back home," he told MPs before the House of Commons Special Committee on Canada-China Relations.

On December 8, Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland announced an expanded probe into the infrastructure bank after halting “all government led-activity" at the Beijing-based Chinese-led bank on June 14. It will investigate the bank’s investments, governance, and management frameworks and assess if existing environmental and social governance safeguards are required. 

Roughly six months later, Pickard alleged that Beijing controlled the apparatus with regime agents influencing its day-to-day operations. "Forty percent of the staff are Chinese nationals, many of whom are Chinese Communist Party members," he said. "Heel-clicking obedience is the way I would describe it."

As reported by the Epoch Times, CCP members hold influential positions within the AIIB, including AIIB president Jin Liqun — a party member and former Red Guard. 

They are placed meticulously to exert control within the institution, Pickard told MPs, even claiming his own assistant was a party spy, reported Blacklock’s Reporter.

"In my own department, a CCP member [...] was appointed as my personal assistant," said Pickard. "I found out that this Communist Party member, appointed as my assistant, was secretly reporting directly to the most senior party member in Mr. Jin's office."

"I had an in-house snitch reporting [on] every journalist I met with, every civil society leader I met with," continued the whistleblower. 

The executive further alleged that within months of joining the AIIB, Beijing’s influence within the president's office grew in 2022.

Jin's office would receive updated security following Pickard’s appointment that required non-Chinese officials to be buzzed in, he claimed.

"This cocooning of the AIIB president is consistent with how the information he receives and the issues he decides are filtered through two CCP officials whose offices were closest physically to his inside of this bubble," Pickard told MPs.

After a failed attempt to leave the bank in May 2022, he finally followed through on June 14. He called it "one of the most toxic cultures imaginable" under CCP rule.

"What evidence would you point to?" asked Liberal MP Peter Fragiskatos. "People kept on asking me, where are the documents?" said Pickard. "If I had taken those documents, I’d either be in a Chinese jail right now or I would be under serious litigation," he added.

Before joining the bank in March 2022, Pickard had reservations about Beijing "exercising undue influence" on the institution. Other western members "allayed these concerns."

The whistleblower fled China and sought refuge in Japan the day he resigned for fear of reprisal by the CCP, reported Blacklock's Reporter.

On June 14, the AIIB issued a statement denying his “baseless” allegations.

Then in July, they published a report concluding they found "no evidence of undue or improper influence." Pickard rejected its findings and became the alleged subject of a ‘disinformation’ campaign by Beijing. 

"Hundreds of pro-AIIB, pro-CCP bots on Twitter targeted me with insults, and I was accused of being an American agent of espionage, a white supremacist, a neo-colonialist, or part of some nefarious Canadian government plot to embarrass China," he told the House committee.

Pickard contends that as long as the current geopolitical situation persists under the CCP, they will "continue to undermine Western democracies and have China replace the United States as the number one power."

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