New Brunswick Minister Says Province Cutting Ties With Accredited Schools in China, Citing Concerns With Beijing Regime

New Brunswick Minister Says Province Cutting Ties With Accredited Schools in China, Citing Concerns With Beijing Regime
New Brunswick Education Minister Dominic Cardy in a file photo. (The Canadian Press/Marc Grandmaison)
Isaac Teo

With Beijing’s Confucius Institutes removed from New Brunswick’s public schools, the province is now cutting ties with its accredited schools in China that do not teach Canadian values, says Dominic Cardy, the province's education minister.

“I have a serious problem with supporting schools operated by or influenced by the government in Beijing for all the reasons that I hope would be obvious to anyone who comes from a small 'l' liberal democratic country," Cardy told The Epoch Times.

"Supporting the regime in Beijing is the last thing that anyone in a democracy should be doing right now."

Cardy announced on Oct. 13 that he is resigning from his position. The Epoch Times spoke to Cardy before his resignation, while he was still the minister.

News of N.B. ending the relationship came last week when Cardy shared on Twitter that he is “happy” that Atlantic Education International (AEI), the agency responsible for marketing and selling his province’s educational programs worldwide, is phasing out its partnership with schools in China that “refuse to teach Canadian values.”

“There were increased concerns from AEI, that I strongly shared, that the curriculum being used was a distortion of the New Brunswick curriculum," he said in the interview.

"Important elements of areas in the history curriculum, social studies, civics, and so on, were not being properly taught as there was a degree of overt censorship from the communist authorities in China, which is not a surprise.”

Cardy said that sensitive topics to Beijing, such as the Tiananmen Square massacre, were either not being taught at all or simply "glossed over."

The minister added that he and AEI would not allow a Canadian diploma to be given to students who have not gone through a genuine Canadian education.

“The areas of our curriculum that focus around critical thinking, free expression, and a democratic approach to life; questioning authority, being allowed to participate in political processes—all of those were either cut or severely restricted from the curriculum, and that’s not acceptable,” he said,


According to AEI, the partnered schools in China were operated by Advanced Knowledge Database International Inc. (AKD International), a private international school group founded by Francis Pang, a Hong Kong-born Chinese-Canadian entrepreneur, whose long-standing alliance with the agency dated back to 1997.
Schools under the purview of AKD International include its flagship Beijing Concord College of Sino-Canada (BCCSC), Shenzhen (Nanshan) Concord College of Sino-Canada, and Canadian International School of Hefei, among seven others listed on AEI’s website, in which Pang holds the position of chair in most of them.
Pang’s biography on the Canada China Business Council’s website stated that he proposed the first Sino-Canadian joint cooperative college in China in 1994. Within three years, BCCSC was established with Pang playing an instrumental role in liaising N.B.’s education department with senior Chinese officials. The partnership would go on for over a decade before it was extended for another 15 years in 2012.
In March 2019, Pang was invested into the Order of Canada. He is also credited with establishing the Confucius Institute of New Brunswick, according to the Governor General’s official website.
The Epoch Times attempted to seek comments from Fang and BCCSC but didn't hear back by publication time.

‘No Way to Engage’

Cardy confirmed that the partnership with AKD International will end by 2027 due to contractual obligations. By then, the province will no longer have any relationship with the schools, he noted.
“I think in the past, we’ve been too quick to sign contracts as a province without paying careful attention to how to end them when necessary and not allowing for changes in circumstances,” said Cardy, who was sworn in as education and early childhood development minister on Nov. 9, 2018, after the contracts were signed.

He said people felt “more optimistic” about China a decade ago and thought that engagement could help the communist state become more open and democratic.

“Clearly, that was a mistaken view,” he said.

“There is no way to engage with a country that persists in discrimination based on religious, ethnic, racial grounds, sexual orientation, and all of the other ways in which China continues to apply a 20th-century authoritarian communist command-and-control model,” he said.

Cardy added that his province remains watchful, and is ready to terminate other existing partnerships with schools in China that cater to international students but operate outside the control of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), and have adhered to N.B.'s curriculum.

‘Good Riddance to Them’

Since being elected as education minister in 2018, Cardy has been the driving force behind the removal of Confucius Institutes (CIs) from his province.
He testified before the Commons Canada-China committee last June that the CIs’ cultural and language programs include an overt political agenda that included denying the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre, having students draw maps erasing Taiwan’s border with China, and disciplining students who raised questions about Beijing’s human rights abuses.

“Their job is to create a friendly, cheerful face for a government that is responsible for more deaths than nearly any other in the history of our species,” Cardy told CBC in February 2019.

The minister told The Epoch Times that the last contract his province signed with CIs happened before he was elected, and did not include any cancellation clause from the Canadian side.

“So we had to let the contract end, and we insisted on reducing the programming before it ended,” he said, adding that all the programming was completed at the end of the last academic year in August.

"[CIs are] now gone from this province, and good riddance to them,” he said.