OTTAWA - CSIS would do well to look closely at budding business links between First Nations in Canada and Chinese companies, says a former operative for Canada's spy service.
"A lot of natural resources and a lot of the things (China is) looking for, the First Nations are sitting on them," said Michel Juneau-Katsuya, who now heads up security consultancy Northgate Group. "So they're going to try and make deals directly with them."
CSIS (the Canadian Security Intelligence Service) has refused comment following media reports that as early as 2010 it had probed dealings between B.C.'s Kaska Nation and Silvercorp, a Canadian miner with strong Chinese connections.
Beijing's aboriginal contacts continue to deepen.
The First Nations Energy and Mining Council published a new strategy in 2011 to "promote collaborative development" with China, especially companies owned by China's communist dictatorship.
Heightened concern about Chinese interest in Canada comes as the state-owned Chinese National Overseas Oil Corporation (CNOOC) this week launched a $15.1-billion bid to take over Calgary-based energy company Nexen.
The bid is under review, but it follows Prime Minister Stephen Harper's call for increased oil sales to Asia, which he made during his February visit to China.
Canada's relationship with China is warming up despite a 2010 warning from CSIS Director Richard Fadden that included hints Beijing was trying to influence Canadian politicians.
"How much influence are we getting?" asks Juneau-Katsuya. "Who is running the show?"
He contends the Conservatives¹ embrace of China means the party should change its colours to red with a yellow star a blunt reference to China's flag.
Meanwhile, a former Pentagon official warns CNOOC¹s growing oilsands presence creates strategic worries.
"The real issue here is that China is using this oil to propel its military build-up," Jed Babbin told QMI Agency. "What they do with trying to invest
in Canadian assets is to control the flow of the oil."