A development bank partly funded by the Canadian government is considering funding a new pipeline project in Asia.
The Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), which has received $256 million from Canadian taxpayers over the last five years, has already funded three pipelines across Asia.
Among other projects, the AIIB has financed new pipelines in China, Bangladesh and Azerbaijan.
Founded in 2016, the AIIB is an internationally-funded bank created to invest in infrastructure projects in Asia.
The latest project being proposed to the AIIB is a 229 km natural gas pipeline near Beijing. The first pipeline project in China approved in 2017 will soon be delivering natural gas to over 200,000 homes.
Minister of Finance Bill Morneau currently sits on the AIIB’s board of directors. On the Department of Finance website, the government maintains that Canada’s participation in the AIIB has been a moral good.
“Canada’s participation in the AIIB helps to promote inclusive global economic growth. Investing in quality infrastructure aids economic growth by enabling the movement of people, goods and services, which can have significant positive benefits,” the website reads.
“As well, it advances Canadian priorities on mobilizing private capital, gender equality and innovative financing.”
Since 2016, Canada has only approved one pipeline project on Canadian soil. In the same period, the Canadian-funded foreign bank has seen three approved and start construction.
“This Liberal government’s pipeline priorities are completely wrong. They are more focused on creating energy jobs in Asia whilst neglecting the highly-skilled, middle-class, energy workers here in Canada,” Conservative MP Tom Kmiec said on his website.
The Conservative party has strongly opposed Canada’s investment in the AIIB, with opposition leader Andrew Scheer demanding Canada divest after China banned Canadian canola due to unfounded health concerns earlier this year, a move widely seen as retaliation to Canada’s arrest of Huawei CEO Meng Wanzhou. China also banned Canadian pork and beef products from June until November.
Chinese aggression has also turned towards Canadian citizens since the arrest of Meng, with Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor nearing the one year anniversary of their arrests in China. Both men are still being denied basic legal rights.