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Canada shipbuilding in Shanghai

by Judi McLeod,
Monday, May 16, 2005

Four years ago, Canadian Steamship Lines International, a subsidiary of the Prime Minister Paul Martin-blind trust Canada Steamship Lines, entered into a deal with Shanghai-based Jiangnan Shipyard to build two bulk cargo vessels--at $45-million per ship.

CSL has moved shipbuilding from Canada and the West to Communist China.

The two Chinese-built bulk cargo vessels are not the first ships built for CSL in the Orient.

The Sheila Ann, a bulk carrier named after Martin's wife, was built in China in 1999.

In spite of its name, the Sheila Ann may never have come to public attention.

But a few days after his June 28, 2004 election as Canadian Prime Minister, 83 kilograms of cocaine, with a street value between $12-million to $14-million was found in an underwater grate attached to the bottom of the vessel.

When the two $45-million vessels from the Shanghai shipyard set sail on the world's seas, they will never be recognized as Canadian owned.

According to Transport Canada, "the vast majority of vessels in the Canadian-controlled international fleet operate under foreign flags and employ foreign officers and crew."

CSL operates more vessels abroad than it does in Canada.

"The company's U.S.-based subsidiary CSL International has 19 vessels in its fleet, which are registered in foreign locales such as the Bahamas or Vanuatu and are often crewed by lower-paid seamen from the Ukraine or the Philippines." (Ottawa Citizen, Feb. 8, 2004). "By contrast, the Montreal-based parent company, Canada Steamship Lines sails just 17 ships domestically, according to the CSL's own fleet listings."

Why Martin would be building ships in Communist China is as much a mystery as why the Quebec-based Bombardier, propped up with millions of dollars by a Canadian Liberal government, would be handing China access to Tibet with a state-of-the-art railway line. (Although Martin's three sons now run CSL, Martin owned the company when he entered the shipbuilding deal with Jiangnan Shipyard.)

Martin's economic links with China carry on the legacy of his predecessor, Prime Minister Jean Chretien. The oriental links of both parties took root in the formidable Quebec-based Power Corp. of Canada.

Martin was launched into the world of business at Power Corp. in the 1960s, working for Canadian diplomat Maurice Strong, the company's president. In time, Power's patriarch, Paul Desmarais gave Martin the presidency of its subsidiary Canada Steamship Lines, which Martin purchased before going on to amass a fortune.

In the late 1970s, Power Corp. was one of the founding members of the influential Canada China Business Council, a powerful organization representing some 232 corporations, in their bid to boost business between Canada and China.

These include Bombardier Inc., Nortel Networks Corp., Sun Life Financial, Manulife Financial, the Bank of Montreal and Barrick Gold Corp. Strong, Martin's mentor, is listed as an "honorary director" of the council. Peter Kruyt, vice president of Power Corp. has been chair of the council since 2002.

Bombardier Inc. and Power Corp. are now partners in a massive project with China National Railway to deliver 300 inter-city rail cars to China. The two companies have invested a total of $110-million to build a manufacturing plant. Bombardier stands to make $550-million if China, as rumored, opts for 200 additional cars.

At the same time as Bombardier and Nortel plan the `Orient Express Deluxe Deluxe', comes a new Canada-China Air Agreement.

Transport Minister Jean-C. Lapierre and International Trade Minister Jim Peterson announced April 19 the conclusion of a new and expanded bilateral air transport agreement with the People's Republic of China.

The new agreement provides for a three-fold increase in permitted passenger and cargo flights to be operated by more airlines between city pairs and under more flexible operating conditions than under the previous agreement.

By sea, by air and by railway, Canada has aligned itself with the communist People's Republic of China.

Canada Free Press founding editor Most recent by Judi McLeod is an award-winning journalist with 30 years experience in the print media. Her work has appeared on, Drudge Report,, Glenn Beck. Judi can be reached at:

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