When it comes to dealing with the issues of CCP influence in Canada, there is no ambiguity in the Conservatives policy approach. This is a marked difference to the political powerplays that the Liberals are currently orchestrating on Parliament Hill. Pictured is Conservative foreign affairs critic Michael Chong. Photo credit: Reuters/Chris Wattie
Earlier this week, on June 4, the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre provided yet another example of the stark contrast between the federal Liberals’ and Conservatives’ approach to foreign policy with China. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was silent on the occasion: a dark day in which armed communist troops killed and injured thousands of demonstrators, and arrested thousands more who would be imprisoned without trial, some tortured and executed.
Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre stated, “The Communist Party in Beijing has failed to atone for their cruelty. Time and time again, whether it’s through the ongoing genocide of Uyghurs in Xinjiang, their aggression in the South China Sea, or their persecution of Canadians of Chinese heritage in Canada, it has become clear that we must stand up to the Communist government in Beijing.”
Poilievre’s staunch defence of human rights in China with regard to the bloody massacre that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has gone to great lengths to wipe from its history books is reflective of the hard stand the Conservatives have taken with the CCP. On the other hand, Trudeau’s silence on the subject speaks volumes of his government’s acquiescence of (and close relationship with) the CCP.
As another week passes in Ottawa with new revelations concerning foreign influence, Canadians are asking when their government will get serious about the threats posed by the CCP. It is difficult to discern a principled approach to Canada-China relations by the governing Liberals, whereas in the 2021 federal election, the Conservatives advanced a fulsome policy dealing with China relations. Today, the Party continues to advocate for a hardline response to the CCP’s aggression and its undue influence in Canada.
A Conservative government would pursue a much different tract with the CCP than the Trudeau Liberals. The Conservatives’ focus of concern is clearly stated in its 2021 platform document.
“We must stand up to the Communist government of China. Our quarrel is not with the people of China – part of an ancient civilization that has contributed much to humanity. We stand especially with Chinese Canadians whose contributions to Canada are immeasurable and who are enduring an appalling rise in anti-Asian hate and discrimination. And we stand with Uyghur Muslims, Tibetans, Falun Gong practitioners, Hong Kongers, and Chinese Christians.”
“Instead, our issue is with China’s communist government and leadership. The communist leadership represents a clear and rising threat to Canadian interests – and our values. They’ve abducted our citizens, targeted our economy, and intimidated members of the Chinese Canadian community.”
The Conservative policy on China is specific and multifaceted. Canadians can expect a Conservative government to address the following points from its policy platform:
- Work with our allies to build a “coalition of democracies” with the goal of decoupling critical parts of our supply chains from China.
- As the Government of Canada, recognize the Uyghur genocide and encourage our allies to do the same.
- Ban imports that have been produced using forced and enslaved Uyghur labour.
- End policies that grant special treatment to Hong Kong, recognizing that Beijing’s decision to crack down on its autonomy eliminates the rationale for the special treatment.
- Support the people of Hong Kong fighting for freedom, democracy, human rights, and the rule of law.
- Ban Huawei from Canada’s 5G infrastructure and further investigate the company’s role in providing surveillance capabilities that have been used against the Uyghur people and other persecuted minorities in China.
- Advise universities against partnerships with China’s state-controlled companies and organizations and prohibit federal granting councils from participating in these partnerships.
- Crack down on China’s foreign influence operations on Canadian soil by making it clear to China’s diplomats that any involvement in intimidation or threats to anyone in Canada provides grounds to be declared persona non grata and expelled from Canada.
- Withdraw from the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.
- Ensure that Canadian development assistance will not advance the Communist Party of China’s Belt and Road Initiative.
And there are more China-related policies found within the Conservatives’ 2021 election platform that are directly relevant to issues concerning Canadians today. For example, regarding climate change, Conservatives would be “insisting that major polluters like China clean up their act.” In defending our national resources, land and corporations, Conservatives would have introduced policies against designated state-owned entities from China from buying their way into Canada. The Conservatives also promised to establish a registry for foreign agents working on behalf of designated countries, something that the Liberals continue to delay and argue against.
Michael Chong, the Conservative MP who serves as the party’s foreign affairs critic, has indicated that the China policy found within the Party’s 2021 election platform remains intact today. At an eastern Ontario riding function in April, Chong asserted, “It still holds. Beijing would want us to change, but we mustn’t.”
Since that April meeting, in the face of the news regarding CCP threats on him and his family, Chong remains resolute in his criticism of the communists and in the Conservatives objectives to address the CCP influence in Canada.
Similarly, the Conservative Leader remains resolute in his support of Canadians’ call to establish a public inquiry on foreign influence. Poilievre promised a Conservative government would immediately put in place an independent process led by a judge with national security experience. As PM, he would direct the judge to make decisions based on facts and recommendations based on Canada’s national interest.
When it comes to dealing with the issues of CCP influence in Canada, there is no ambiguity in the Conservatives policy approach. This is a marked difference to the political powerplays that the Liberals are currently orchestrating on Parliament Hill.
A Nanos poll released in the Globe and Mail this week reveals that one in two Canadians are no longer looking to PM Trudeau to answer their concerns on this matter. The poll found 46 per cent of Canadians assessed “Mr. Trudeau was not credible on foreign interference in elections.”
The Nanos numbers reflect another national poll by Angus Reid that records the increasing level of non-confidence in the Liberals to deal with the CCP: three in five (63 per cent) Canadians are “not confident the Trudeau government will act to combat foreign interference.”
So, with the perceived lack of leadership on this serious issue are Canadians ready to consider the Conservatives’ defined China policy that challenges the CCP and its influence in Canada?
Chris George is an advocate, government relations advisor, and writer/copy editor. As president of a public relations firm established in 1994, Chris provides discreet counsel, tactical advice and management skills to CEOs/Presidents, Boards of Directors and senior executive teams in executing public and government relations campaigns and managing issues. Prior to this PR/GR career, Chris spent seven years on Parliament Hill on staffs of Cabinet Ministers and MPs. He has served in senior campaign positions for electoral and advocacy campaigns at every level of government. Today, Chris resides in Almonte, Ontario where he and his wife manage www.cgacommunications.com. Contact Chris at firstname.lastname@example.org.