An internal email shows that in early 2017, politicians and senior government officials welcomed new Global Transportation Hub investor Mike Niu to the Saskatchewan legislature.
On Feb. 8, the CEO of the GTH wrote to politicians and bureaucrats saying “thank you again to all who participated in the introduction to Mike Niu and officials of Brightenview last week at the legislature.” The email was sent to then-minister of the economy Jeremy Harrison, then-deputy minister to the premier, Alanna Koch, and Laurie Pushor, who continues to serve as deputy minister of the economy, among others.
That is part of a series of emails obtained through access to information that reveal a government campaign aimed at showing enthusiasm for Brightenview’s plans and a willingness to tweak government policy at Niu’s request.
Niu is a founding director of Brightenview Development International, which is building a Chinese megamall at the GTH in partnership with the government. According to internal government emails, he is also a key Brightenview investor.
In May, Niu was the subject of a CBC investigation, which found that he and his partner, Jessie Zhan, had been suspected of loan fraud by the Chinese government.
The couple has also been active in the Canmax group of companies, which has been sanctioned by the Saskatchewan government for offering fake jobs to would-be immigrants. Canmax has also been sued multiple times by Chinese nationals who say the company took large deposits promising immigration to Canada, but failed to deliver.
Neither of them have responded to CBC’s requests for interviews.
When CBC broke the story about the couple earlier this year, Brightenview CEO Joe Zhou wrote “these two are not associated with Brightenview.” Zhou also pointed out that Niu was no longer a director with the company.
Despite that, last spring several employees of a Brightenview subsidiary in Vancouver told CBC Niu was currently the boss.
Brightenview and Sask. government have long relationship
The February event was just the latest in a series of meetings that were designed to strengthen the government’s relationship with Niu and Brightenview — a relationship that dates back to 2013.
Bryan Richards, CEO of the GTH, explained his…