Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland announced Wednesday that Canada will halt all government-led activity at the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank after a Canadian citizen tendered his resignation from the financial institution.
Bob Pickard said in a tweet Wednesday that he resigned as the bank’s global communications chief because the bank is “dominated” by members of the Chinese Communist Party.
“The government of Canada will immediately halt all government-led activity at the bank and I have instructed the Department of Finance to lead an immediate review of the allegations raised and of Canada’s involvement in the AIIB,” Freeland told reporters on Wednesday.
The finance minister said the review would be conducted “expeditiously” and that she wasn’t ruling out any outcome following its completion.
In a statement, the AIIB called Pickard’s allegations “categorically false.”
“We are an independent multilateral development bank guided by our board of governors and board of directors, and no one state or political party has any say over the strategic or operational direction of the bank,” the statement said.
China founded the US$100-billion Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank in late 2015 to provide other countries in the region access to capital for investments in projects in areas such as transportation, power and telecommunications.
Canada joined the bank in 2017 and holds less than one per cent of the voting power, in contrast with China, which holds more than a quarter of the voting power.
According to the AIIB’s website, the development bank had 103 members from within and outside of the region by the end of 2020. That included many western countries, such as the United Kingdom, France and Germany.