In 2012, the City of Vancouver entered into a land swap deal with a local developer called Brenhill Properties.
In the deal, the city and the developer swapped lots of land located across the street from each other. The deal was made in order to move a social housing development known as Jubilee House across the street into a brand new building.
In exchange, the city agreed to allow the new development of Brenhill to be rezoned into a 35 story luxury condo tower.
However, this property was originally supposed to be added to the nearby Emery Barnes Park. Because of this, and the lack of disclosure from the City on this deal, nearby residents weren’t happy. The New Yaletown Residents Association took the City to the Supreme Court of British Columbia, where the court did rule in their favour, saying that the public hearing process was inadequate.
Later, the city made some small changes to the deal, cleaned up their legal loose ends and rammed through the approval a second time.
During this time, the City hired Ernst and Young, one of the Big Four accounting firms, to do some damage control following the court fight with the New Yaletown Residents Association.
Well, $140,000 later, Ernst and Young gave this 76-page report to the city. (That’s nearly $2000 a page.)
And you won’t believe what this engagement letter says.
Ernst and Young acknowledges that the city may provide this report to its advisors, and in the case of this land swap deal, one of those advisors appears to be the China Investment Corporation, the $800 billion sovereign wealth fund of Communist China.
You can see the entire report and engagement letter in the story below.
The China Investment Corporation is headquartered and run from Beijing. It's tasked explicitly with using its assets to benefit the state.
So what the hell is the City of Vancouver doing consulting with a sovereign wealth fund, let alone the sovereign wealth fund of a dictatorship as brutal as China’s? Yesterday I was able to ask Mayor Gregor Robertson this exact question.
WATCH my report to hear his answer.
As far as what the role of the China Investment Corporation, I can only speculate based on what I have seen anecdotally.
First, the developer, Brenhill, is not one of the bigger or better known developers in town, so I think it's entirely possible that the China Investment Corporation is financing the project.
When we see that the development has now been named 8X On the Park, and see the Chinese language only advertising for this development, more alarm bells go off that these luxury condos are being marketed to wealthy mainland Chinese.
We saw the Chinese flag raised at City Hall earlier this year and it was brushed off as no big deal. Now we see the City of Vancouver working directly with the China Investment Corporation – a company that uses their assets to benefit Communist China.
How long until Chinese state influence grows to a point we are no longer able to stop it?