Could Chinese “stadium diplomacy” save Daryl Katz’s downtown arena dream?

Chairman Mao Katz Arena

An artist’s drawing of the Chinese Government’s “Friendship Arena” in the heart of Edmonton’s downtown core.

Did Canada miss an opportunity when the federal government acquiesced to a Chinese Government owned company purchasing Alberta energy company Nexen for $15 billion? Did we miss an opportunity when Canadian energy companies agreed to build a pipeline exporting raw oilsands bitumen to China? Perhaps we are not driving a hard enough bargain.

To the legions of Edmonton Oilers fans yearning for a new palace of worship, a three-term city mayor looking for a signature legacy monument, and billionaire hockey team owner seeking a financial subsidy, perhaps the Chinese Government could offer a solution to Edmonton’s never ending downtown arena debate.

As reported by Andrew Sullivan’s The Dish:

From the copper mines of the Democratic Republic of Congo to the natural gas holdings of Turkmenistan, a giant octopus extends its tentacles, trading finished products for natural resources. In South America 90 per cent of exports to China are unprocessed or barely processed natural resources. The proportion is about the same for Africa. China not only extracts, it also constructs. In what the authors call ‘stadium diplomacy’, dozens of ‘friendship stadiums’ are presented as gifts to countries around the world. Critics characterise them as Trojan horses used to conquer local markets.

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