OTTAWA – POLITICS – Erin O’Toole, the leader of the Conservative party, raises concerns about the federal government’s handling of Canada–China relations. He is joined by Michael Chong, the Conservative foreign affairs critic.
Michael Chong, Conservative Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs, and James Bezan, Shadow Minister for National Defence, released the following statement regarding the Trudeau government’s failure to stand up to China:
“We now have another example of Prime Minister Trudeau’s lack of leadership on Canada’s approach to the People’s Republic of China. The Liberal government’s incoherence is putting at risk Canadian interests, Canadian values and Canadians citizens, including Michael Kovrig, Michael Spavor and Robert Schellenberg.
“Documents revealed today demonstrate that Global Affairs Canada and National Defence are not coordinated in Canada‘s policy toward China and were at odds with each other over the terms of engagement between the Canadian Armed Forces and the People’s Liberation Army. Furthermore, despite the fact that China has kidnapped our citizens, punished our farmers and threatened Canadians in Hong Kong, the Liberal government is willing to jeopardize our Five Eyes intelligence alliance to avoid offending the communist regime in Beijing.
“These documents show a stunning lack of leadership on the part of Prime Minister Trudeau. Government departments are working in opposite directions. Canada’s military and diplomats are working at cross purposes. This is all a result of the Prime Minister Trudeau’s prioritization of relations with Beijing over that of Canada’s democratic allies.
“It’s clear Liberal ministers did not back up the Chief of Defence Staff, the Canadian Armed Forces’ top commander, when he recommended cancelling a planned joint exercise between our military and the People’s Liberation Army on Canadian soil. Clearly, the Prime Minister and Liberal ministers are more concerned about how Beijing might react than in defending Canadian interests. The Liberal government has become so timid that it can’t even say no to Chinese soldiers arriving on our territory.
“In the last several weeks, we have learned after much confusion and mixed messaging that the Liberal government’s much-anticipated and much-vaunted new framework on China is no longer going to be introduced. Instead, the Liberal government has said its policy toward China will ‘evolve’. An evolving or shifting policy is antithetical to a framework, which is a clear, consistent policy that will defend Canada’s interests and values.
“Enough is enough. Canada needs a government that is willing to stand up to China and for our values of freedom, democracy, and the rule of law. Instead of spurning the advice of our allies, it is time to listen, and ensure that Canada stands on the right side of history.”