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Commentary

Swept Under the Carpet

Tue, April 16, 2019   |   Author: Vicki Gunn   |   Volume 26    Issue 15 | Share: Facebook | Twitter   

In Grade 10, I wrote an essay on a newspaper article I had read which was entitled “A Storm in a Teacup”. The article was about Pierre Trudeau who was one of the first national leaders to recognize The People’s Republic of China as a nation. No other nation had recognized the Communist government as being the legitimate government.

Prior to that, the Republic of China (established in 1912) had been recognized as the legitimate government of China. By 1949, they had been beaten back — by communist forces under Mao Tse-Tung — to the island of Taiwan.

A lot of water has passed under the bridge since then, but Pierre Trudeau’s decision to recognize the communist regime has had lasting impacts on global affairs.

As a nation, it seems we’ve turned a blind eye to the human rights violations that have been perpetrated in The People’s Republic of China in the decades since the communists took control. We can learn a lot from a visit to Human Rights Watch: “Human rights defenders continue to endure arbitrary detention, imprisonment, and enforced disappearance. The government maintains tight control over the internet, mass media, and academia.” According to a report by World Economic Forum, “China ranked 100th out of 144 countries for gender parity in 2017 . . . The Chinese government remains hostile to women’s rights activism.”

But, as China can produce the goods we want for much lower costs—by violating human rights, environmental and labour standards—then we simply pretend we don’t know what they’re doing and go on buying the cheaper goods. As a matter of fact, the Canadian government has repeatedly sent teams of businessmen to China to negotiate even better deals. If we were honest with ourselves, not one of us would volunteer to go and work under their working conditions.

Our trade deficit is mind boggling to me…“Canada’s merchandise trade deficit narrowed to CAD 4.25 billion in January 2019 from an upwardly revised all-time high CAD 4.82 billion in the previous month and compared with market expectations of a CAD 3.5 billion shortfall.”

While we have continued flooding our economy with inexpensive products made in China (at the expense of the basic human rights of Chinese citizens), China has imprisoned two Canadians since December 2018 in retaliation for Canadian police arresting Huawei executive, Meng Wanzhou. She was arrested in compliance with our treaty with the U.S. But do we remember Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor?

Our Prime Minister initially didn’t want to get involved. He was willing to leave it to someone else to handle. But, as Canadians began to wonder if he was ever going to do something to resolve the situation, our Prime Minister roused himself from his inertia and called on the leaders of other countries to help.

As the National Post reported, “To this point, the Trudeau government’s attempts to free Kovrig and Spavor have focused on co-ordinating allies to speak in support of the detained Canadians and the rule of law. Australia, the EU, France, Germany, the U.K., the U.S., the Netherlands, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Spain, Denmark and NATO have all obliged.”

May I thank the leaders of the other countries, on behalf of Canadians? They cared enough to do something, even if our Prime Minister didn’t.

When the Jody Wilson-Raybould story first hit the papers, our PM may have initially been grateful for the distraction. It took peoples’ minds off the thought of our two fellow countrymen facing a possible death sentence in Chinese prisons. Of course, it wasn’t long before our PM’s lies re. political interference in the SNC-Lavalin case were exposed. This “distraction” soon proved to be more damaging than his lack of decisive action to free our imprisoned countrymen.

Well, Jody Wilson-Raybould is now banished to the back benches of Parliament. The fact that she spoke the truth while our PM lied is largely yesterday’s news. The two imprisoned Michaels are the day before yesterday’s news. Canadians wait for the next newsworthy scandal.

But in regard to the plight of the two Canadians being held in China, nothing has been resolved. They are still imprisoned. Our Prime Minister has no new plan. He admitted his own ineffectiveness when he called on other nations to help him tell the Chinese they were being naughty. How lame was that? “I’m inept, can you help me?”

The Chinese have apparently said they do not want to talk to Canadian officials, unless Meng is released. Our official response seems to be: “That’s ok! We don’t mind! Just keep the cheap goods rolling into Canada. We’ll talk about our imprisoned and tortured countrymen when you’re ready.” Since China’s only gripe with Canada seems to be the arrest of Meng Wanzhou, one wonders why Canada continues to hold her here? Since the US issued the warrant for her arrest, and Canada made the arrest under treaty obligations, it might have made more sense to have made the arrest and to have extradited her immediately into US custody. Let the US deal with an unhappy Chinese government. That might have been better for all involved but we’ll never know now. Her extradition hearing is now set for May . . . and two Canadians languish behind bars.

The CHP places more value on human lives and human rights than on access to cheap products. CHP Canada would require an acceptable level of human rights before we would enter into trade partnerships. This situation of allowing people to be tortured and killed so that we can have a cheap trading partner is intolerable. Allowing Canadian citizens to be tortured while our government carries on “business as usual” is intolerable. We cannot continue to trade human rights for cheap products.

It’s time to make a stand. It’s time to do what’s right. It’s time to stand on the principles in our trading relationships that we insist upon for our own citizens at home.

We have an election coming in the fall. We need people willing to make a stand as candidates ready to propose legislation that will defend Life! Family! and Freedom! We need people willing to work along with them to help them get elected. We need you! Today!

Join CHP Canada for Life, Family, and Freedom!



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