By Lethbridge Herald Opinion on January 12, 2021.
Let me get straight to the point.
Canada is standing at a precipice. When it comes to Canada-China relations, inaction and appeasement are no longer acceptable.
The Prime Minister’s primary responsibility is the safety and security of Canadians. So, why is he so willing to pacify China and put his own country at risk? Why is he abdicating his role as a leader and choosing to kowtow to a domineering, vindictive, and ruthless regime?
Although there has been a growing suspicion that China follows its own rules, when push comes to shove, it has become crystal clear over the last few years that the communist regime is not to be trusted.
In December 2018, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) exposed their ruthless behaviour and lack of respect for the rule of law when it arbitrarily detained two Canadian citizens, Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, in retaliation to Canada’s arrest of Meng Wanzhou, CFO of China’s largest private company and telecom giant, Huawei. The two Michaels remain imprisoned today.
The CCP proceeded with its vindictive behaviour by putting arbitrary bans on the imports of Canadian agriculture products such as beef, pork and canola, which has had devastating impacts on the industry.
As the Official Opposition, Conservatives have been critical of theÂ Prime Minister’sÂ indecision and lack of action when it comes to China. From the outset, we haveÂ offered advice publicly and privately and clearly communicated that we wished toÂ work in a non-partisan capacityÂ to find a resolution for the sake of Canadians.
Â With no change on the government side, Conservatives decided to act.
InÂ December 2019, when serving as the Conservative Foreign Affairs critic,Â Erin O’TooleÂ tabled a motion to “appoint a special committee with the mandate to conduct hearings to examine and review all aspects of the Canada-China relationship including, but not limited to consular, economic, legal, security and diplomatic relations.”
Despite the Liberals’ attempt to vote it down, we worked with the other opposition parties to get the motion passed.
In a very short period, this vital committee was able to uncover a number of extremely nefarious actions taken by the CCP. Even though virtual meetings were an option, the committee was sidelined, along with many others, when the Prime Minister decided to reduce the function of Parliament for almost an entire year starting in March 2020.
On November 17, 2020, Conservatives brought forward another motion calling on the government to take urgent and necessary action to do two things within 30 days: decide on Huawei’s involvement in Canada’s 5G network-is it allowed or is it not? And, develop a robust plan to combat China’s growing foreign operations here in Canada and its increasing intimidation and harassment of members of Canada’s Chinese community.
Even though the Liberals voted against the motion, it passed with the support of all opposition parties.
And yet, the 30-day deadline came and went, and we still have no decision on Huawei. A reasonable question to ask is, why not?
Canada is the only member of the intelligence alliance, Five Eyes, that has not banned or restricted Huawei from our 5G network.
The Five Eyes, consisting of the US, the UK, Australia, New Zealand and Canada, is an alliance of like-minded nations, which work to share intelligence and signal security threats in order to protect our respective nations.
There is concrete evidence of Chinese espionage, infiltration, systematic interference in Canadian companies and the federal government.
Even CSIS, our national intelligence agency, has said Beijing uses undercover agents to target members of Canada’s Chinese community in order to silence critics of China’s regime. These agents use threats of retribution against their families in China in order to coerce and control.
Naively, Canada has assumed that if we play nice and seek to appease the dragon, it will not bite us.
This is not the case. Appeasing a hostile actor does not result in a trusting or functional relationship. On the contrary, it creates an imbalance where one party becomes dominant, and the other, submissive.
With its long-term plan of becoming the predominant world economic superpower, and its development of what many are calling the New Silk Road-that is the Belt and Road Initiative-China is using an approach that is nothing short of global economic imperialism.
The Chinese Communist Party has not been shy in enacting its plan to take over industry, ports, mines and infrastructure projects in other countries, including in Canada.
To add insult to injury, it was recently discovered that Canada’s military has been doing training exercises with China for a number of years. This was only recently cancelled. Senior officials at Global Affairs Canada expressed alarm at General Jonathan Vance’s decision to cancel winter military training for the Chinese military on Canadian soil in 2019, explaining they were afraid of reprisal from the CCP.
Canada’s entanglement with Communist China under Prime Minister Trudeau is worse than anyone could have imagined.
The primary responsibility of any democratic leader is to ensure the safety and security of its citizens.
So, where is Prime Minister Trudeau on this file? Why is he refusing to act?
We are in a faceoff with a growing economic superpower. Now is the time to stand our ground and push back against this communist regime whose political ideology is rooted in a philosophy that preaches world domination.
This is an opportunity for Canada to show leadership on the world stage, as we once did.
China is counting on inaction. We need a government that will put the interests of Canadians first and show the CCP that we will not be intimidated.