A number of suspected Chinese companies building factories in Ontario have been accused of threatening national security

A private group in Stratford, Ontario, has accused Xinyi Canada, a Chinese company, of creating a project to build a float glass factory in the community that would pose a national security threat and has demanded a federal review.

Wise Communities Stratford (WCS), an advocacy group, said in an open letter to Federal Minister of Innovation, Science and Technology Navdeep Bains that The Project to build the factory in Stratford, Ontario, proposed by Truescanadas, ‘undermines national security,’ the CBC reported.

The company has offered to invest $400m in a float glass factory on the edge of Stratford city centre. The move sparked weekly protests by angry demonstrators in the city and sparked a controversy involving Stratford City Hall and the Provincial government.

In April, mayor Dan Mathieson asked the Ontario government to issue an MZO to clear legal hurdles to the plant, which critics say amounted to a subversion of democratic processes by municipal and provincial politicians.

John Power, a spokesman for The office of Innovation, Science and Technology Minister John Baines, said Monday that while the Investment Canada Act provides an opportunity to review significant foreign investments, he could not comment further on the case, the CBC reported. “Due to the confidentiality provisions of the Investment Canada Act, we are unable to comment on specific transactions.”

The ownership of the company is in doubt

Patrick O ‘Rourke, a retired lawyer and Stratford resident, signed an open letter to the minister. “We need more information, especially about company ownership,” he said.

“The ownership of the company is basically a network of holding companies and subsidiaries, almost all of which are registered in the Cayman Islands or the Virgin Islands, and many of these companies are headed by people who have overt ties to the Communist government or the Communist Party of China,” he said.

CBC’s article said it reached out to The Company’s office in Markham, Ontario, on Monday, but the company did not respond to a request for comment. If Mr. O ‘Rourke’s allegations against the company prove correct, that would be enough to justify a more rigorous federal review of the glass plant under the law.

Intellectual property and environmental issues

Mr. O ‘Rourke said his group was also concerned about the company’s plans to set up a ‘research and development center’ at the site of the proposed glass plant. None of the similar glass factories the company has built in other countries include such centres.

While there is no evidence that the company intends to use the facility for any other purpose, Mr O ‘Rourke notes that the Communist regime has long been accused of stealing valuable technology and trade secrets from the West. It says the federal government should take that into account when deciding whether to review the program.

‘There is a lot of concern in the United States,’ he said. “In fact, the US government has expelled many Chinese scientists and researchers because of the parties’ overt links with the Communist party or the Chinese Communist Party.”

Mr. O ‘Rourke said the issue was particularly sensitive in Stratford, which is one of Canada’s most digital cities and a testing ground for the country’s self-driving car development.

The environmental impact of the glass plant is also a concern. The process of making float glass is energy-intensive, Says O ‘Rourke, and “this plant will more than double the carbon dioxide emissions of the Stratford area.”

“The idea of welcoming a new energy-intensive company with a large carbon footprint seems to run counter to the federal government’s overall plan for a green economy,” he said.

Stratford resident Loreena McKennitt, a renowned Canadian composer and founder of WCS, said the group’s real desire was for the project to be properly reviewed. Because the provincial government issued a zoning decree, it eliminated most of the democratic process surrounding the project proposal, leaving the public unsure whether government officials had adequately reviewed the project.