The company, Canadian Solar Inc., certainly has a Canadian-sounding name. It’s a big company which, as you guessed from the other ostensibly obvious word, “Solar,” is in the solar panel business.
Canadian Solar is a public company, meaning it’s listed on a stock exchange — in this case the NASDAQ in the USA, and so it is owned by private investors from anywhere. It’s worth noting that this “Canadian” company is not listed on any Canadian stock exchange like the TSX.
Today’s news is that Canadian Solar Inc is involved in manufacturing and supply work in Communist China, including some work located in the Xinjiang region, or what the world is finding out is an allegedly slave-labor area of China, or one of them, at which the Chinese Communists authoritarians literally imprison and then force Uyghur Muslims to do specified work, and force them to attend re-education and political indoctrination camps. This, according to the Globe and Mail, which is reporting on what several witnesses and experts have told them. (I’m highlighting one “Canadian” firm here, although the article lists more than that. I’ve only got so much time, what without the use of slave labor, government news media subsidies, and so on.)
The firm, Canadian Solar, doesn’t confirm or deny the accusation that they’re employing, through their Communist partners, slave labor. But they certainly acknowledge being there.
I looked through their Securities and Exchange Commission filing, which is a corporate obligation necessary to getting listed and maintaining a listing on an American stock exchange. Here you will find that they’ve had to admit that Canadian, American and European firms and/or their governments have sued Canadian Solar for “dumping” their solar products — Chinese-made solar products, mind you — into Canada, the United States, and Europe. And that they have in fact received “subsidies from the Chinese authorities.”
There’s lots of references to the various court findings in their filing, but this sentence captures it well:
“We have been in the past, and may be in the future, subject to the imposition of antidumping and countervailing duty orders in one or more of the markets in which we sell our products. In the past, we have been subject to the imposition of antidumping and countervailing duty orders in the U.S., the EU and Canada and have, as a result, been party to lengthy proceedings related thereto.”
The upshot was that after numerous court battles and appeals, they lost every one of them, and the company was assessed antidumping duties or taxes around the world including Canada.
I obviously don’t know at what cost the Canadian government litigated against this Canadian company to help prevent dumping from China, nor how much competing Canadian companies and employees suffered by having to compete against cheap Chinese labor and Communist cash. But it certainly is a bad thing that a “Canadian” company is charged with dumping products from China into Canada, no? Not very, well, Canadian of that firm, is it?
I tried to find out how much, if any, Canadian taxpayers cash went directly to subsidize Canadian Solar Inc. (as so many solar companies are government subsidized), but couldn’t find that information. Clearly, they rely on government subsidies paid to consumers, however. It seems the company really got a leg-up because of these subsidies, and because its first manufacturing plant was in China, where labor is, well, cheap.
Do you think the founder and CEO, Dr. S. Qu, is concerned about being in China? Hell no. “Dr. Qu, who is a Canadian citizen, does spend the majority of his time in China, where he lives near the company’s biggest manufacturing plant in Suzhou, just outside Shanghai.” That was info presented right in that proud Canadian’s company’s bio. Dr. Qu is also quoted saying, “Lots of companies do manufacturing in China. So what? Look at Apple. Where do they make their cellphones?”
“So what?” In reality, operating in China is a massively fraught matter, even without the accusations of their using slave labor. China is a Communist authoritarian dictatorship; is credibly accused of spying on Canada and most other countries; of stealing intellectual property from Canada, the U.S., and others, including military secrets; of meddling in democratic elections abroad; of imposing its muscle on weak nations; of horrible unfair trade practices covering a wide spectrum of trade and commerce issues; of surreptitiously influencing Chinese expats, Canadians, and citizens and politicians in Canada and other countries through the likes of their Confucius Institutes; they’re accused of horrendous human rights abuses inside their own country including imprisoning, using slave labor, and forcing citizens into indoctrination camps and re-education camps; they are the world’s largest polluters and CO2 emitters by a huge margin; their population is in excess of 1.4 billion people and growing still; and as if that all weren’t enough of a wake-up call, they are currently holding two Canadians hostage after kidnapping them for purely political and power purposes. That’s what.
Get a clue, Qu.
The Canadian government seems totally cool with it all. The U.S. has blacklisted Chinese individuals and whole companies, and has famously (infamously to those among us who are reflexive anti-Trumpers) launched a huge trade battle with the Chinese Communist government to force them to account for their misdeeds including all of what I mentioned. Canada has done nothing except what has lately become its usual Trudeaupian response, especially on China matters: “express concern.” (I suspect that’s because Donald Trump and the U.S. did do the those things, which leads Canadian liberals to pathologically take the opposite approach; which is wrong, anti-intellectual, dangerous, and in this case, literally an anti-Canadian and more pro-China approach, once again.)
Literally nothing about this company sounds Canadian. And often these last few years, literally nothing about “Canadian government” sounds very Canadian to me either.