Canada has cut off connection with the China-run Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) after the bank’s global communications director resigned and said the organization was “dominated by the Communist party”
Chrystia Freeland, the minister of finance, stated on Wednesday that Canada was suspending its relations with the AIIB while it looked into the claims and did not rule out any outcomes. This was a clear sign that Ottawa would leave the bank it officially partnered with in March 2018.
In order to compete with the World Bank and other multilateral lending organizations led by the West, Chinese president Xi Jinping founded the AIIB in 2016. It claims to be a lender that is “apolitical” and has 106 members globally.
Canadian Bob Pickard, the bank’s worldwide communications director, announced his resignation on his personal Twitter account on Wednesday. He claimed to have departed the company due to its “toxic culture” and said that it was “dominated by Communist party members”.
“As a proud Canadian, this was the only option I had. The bank has one of the most toxic cultures imaginable and is dominated by Communist party members. I don’t think my country’s membership in the AIIB serves the interests of my country,” he stated.
The claims, according to AIIB, are “baseless and disappointing”. According to a statement from the bank, “during this time, the bank has supported and empowered him to carry out his role.” We have a diversified multinational team and are proud of our multilateral mission.
The claims were referred to by China’s embassy in Canada as “pure sensational hype and outright lies.” Canada joined the AIIB in 2018, and Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was in office at the time. The opposition Conservatives have long requested that Ottawa leave the bank, arguing that Beijing is using it as a vehicle to spread dictatorship across the Pacific.
According to a 2015 report by Reuters, the US asked nations to reconsider joining the bank before it was established and questioned whether it would have adequate standards of governance and social, environmental, and governance safeguards.
According to S&P Global Ratings, as of November, the AIIB had provided $37 billion in financing for 194 projects in nations like India, Uzbekistan, and the Philippines, an increase from $29 billion in October 2021. The Canadian government will immediately stop all government-led operations at the bank, Freeland told reporters on Wednesday. I’ve also asked the Department of Finance to conduct an immediate investigation into the claims made and Canada’s participation in the AIIB.
The world’s democracies, she argued, must be clear about how authoritarian countries used their influence as they try to reduce their strategic exposure to them. “The review I’m presenting today needs to be started right away. And I am not disqualifying any result after its conclusion,” she added.
When contacted for a response by email, the Chinese embassy in Ottawa stated that “the claim that ‘AIIB is controlled by the Communist party of China’ is nothing but a lie.” The bilateral relationship between Canada and China has been tense for the previous five years, but Freeland’s comments signal a new low.
China has been charged with attempting to meddle in Canadian politics through a number of schemes, including the establishment of unauthorized police stations and the targeting of legislators. Beijing refutes all of these accusations.