The Trouble with Jean

by Nathan Hamm on 3/9/2005 · 6 comments

Former Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien paid a visit to Turkmenistan on behalf of Calgary’s Buried Hill Energy as part of his new role as an attorney with the Calgary firm of Bennett Jones. While there, he spent an hour lobbying Turkmenbashi the Great for oil concessions, which he received. Among others The Globe and Mail is giving him hell.

All ethical and moral questions aside, there’s a big problem with the oil concession. Azerbaijan says it belongs to them, and they’re retaliating against Canada. Probably a bit unfair to Canada, but a Canadian mining company is also working in areas contested by Armenia and Azerbaijan. And, I suppose that this is the kind of response one would expect when a former prime minister is involved in cutting deals of this sort. As The Globe and Mail puts it,

Most former world leaders are cognizant of the fact that they do not turn into ordinary citizens on retirement, and that for the rest of their lives they will carry the prestige accorded to their previous office. That is why they still gain entree into foreign halls of power and why they must be judicious and responsible in the activities to which they lend their names and reputations.

In other regional oil news, South Korea has signed a field exploration deal with Uzbekistan. The South Koreans are busy little bees in the Central Asian oil sector. They also recently signed a Caspian exploration deal with Kazakhstan.


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– author of 2991 posts on Registan.net.

Nathan is the founder and Principal Analyst for Registan, which he launched in 2003. He was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Uzbekistan 2000-2001 and received his MA in Central Asian Studies from the University of Washington in 2007. Since 2007, he has worked full-time as an analyst, consulting with private and government clients on Central Asian affairs, specializing in how socio-cultural and political factors shape risks and opportunities and how organizations can adjust their strategic and operational plans to account for these variables. More information on Registan's services can be found here, and Nathan can be contacted via Twitter or email.

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{ 4 comments }

Tim Newman March 9, 2005 at 11:59 pm

The South Koreans are busy little bees in Kuwait too – we’ve just lost out on a huge job to Hyundai, who went in at 70% of the budget price in order to get a foothold in the country.

Hrumph!!!

Nathan March 10, 2005 at 1:22 am

Fucking Hyundai! For some reason, their luxurious looking but very cheap cars rub me the wrong way.

It seemed like all the new, high-end consumer goods in Uzbekistan were made by South Korean companies. The cars and a lot of the electronics were Daewoo. We bought a Daewoo or LG tv for our English center. (Hell, my cell phone that I have now is LG.) And if I recall, there’s a high-ranking government official in Uzbekistan who is a South Korean.

It’s probably all for the best though.

craig neudorf March 10, 2005 at 1:24 pm

Jean Chretien has for a very long time had ties (family) to the Canadian company Bombadier that is based in his home province of Quebec. This company competes head to head with a Brazilian company for regional Jet Airlines. The Brazilian company has ties to its Presidency.

Here is the serious problem. Both Bombadier and its Brazilian rival have received BILLIONS in subsidies from their respective family-connected government. And, both countries have hauled the other before the GAAT courts to protect their family interests, and done so successfully… creating large penalties on the businesses and consumers of the countries, while gaining additional money for the blood-sucking companies. This has been going on for a decade or two.

That is why Jean Chretien stinks as a representative of Canada, when he puts on his GO-CANADA hat. He has zero credibility as a representative of CANADA. I would hire him though…he knows how to suck out money for his friends and family.

craig neudorf March 10, 2005 at 8:29 pm

Weekly News #12
Kind of puts posts like mine in perspective.
A little graft in Canada must be boring..well, perhaps you all know we have tons of it here to.
Just get your country down below 25% graft/theft and you are ok..10% and you are GOLDEN, GOLDEN!!!

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