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Commentary

The Peoples’ Liberation Army Comes to Canada!

Tue, December 22, 2020   |   Author: Rod Taylor   |   Volume 27    Issue 51 | Share: Facebook | Twitter   

Winter has arrived in Canada. Over the years, we Canadians have learned to adjust to winter conditions. Visitors from warmer parts of the globe are sometimes surprised by the snow and frigid temperatures but they also learn to adapt. As Canadians, we like to help foreign visitors learn to cope with the challenges of winter.

It appears that Communist China also sees value in having soldiers of their Peoples’ Liberation Army participate in some cold-weather training in Canada . . . and our Prime Minister agreed! Documents obtained by Ezra Levant, of Rebel News, through an FOI (Freedom of Information) request revealed that Canada has been participating in a series of training exercises with China’s military over several years. One such exercise was to have involved PLA soldiers actually training alongside Canadian soldiers at CFB Petawawa for the express purpose of learning skills for surviving and functioning in winter conditions.

The partially-redacted documents contained many other nuggets of information and insights into communications between and the differing perspectives of GAC (Global Affairs Canada) and the DND / CAF (Department of National Defence / Canadian Armed Forces). To me, the most interesting and significant item was an exchange regarding the cancellation of the winter training exercises. The training session scheduled for early 2019 was cancelled by the DND for two reasons:

  1. The arrest and detention of Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig by the Chinese Government in December, 2018 on charges of spying. This was universally seen as nothing more than a political reprisal for the arrest in Canada of Huawei executive, Meng Wanzhou, on an extradition request from the United States. The DND felt that to hold “joint training exercises” that would benefit the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) would be unwise and would send a very unclear message to Beijing.
  2. A strong warning from the U.S. that conducting joint military exercises with the PLA would be contrary to the best interests of both Canada and her military allies. During military training, much knowledge and insight may be gained that would create disadvantages in the case of an outright conflict between China and the allied forces of the so-called “Five-Eyes” countries: Canada, the U.S., Australia, New Zealand and the UK. Spying has been a part of global power struggles for centuries and in recent decades, industrial spying has resulted in some of the West’s most valuable technology to be taken to China and returned as finished products sold to consumers in the Western democracies. Military secrets, while more closely guarded, are still at risk and are even more vulnerable when the bright young minds of PLA soldiers are given access to military training centres.

The decision by the Canadian military to cancel one of the training sessions was challenged by Global Affairs as a move that could be seen as aggressive by the CCP. Mr. Trudeau and his trusted advisers did not want to risk aggravating China, even when she held two of our citizens on what appear to be spurious charges. The foolishness of teaching battle techniques to the soldiers of one of our most dangerous military and commercial competitors should have been obvious on its own, but to offer military cooperation after two Canadian citizens had been randomly detained would really have sent the wrong message. I’m glad that Canadian military commanders took a stand. I’m sorry that Mr. Trudeau didn’t back them up with stronger actions, demanding a quick release.

The “two Michaels” have now been in Chinese custody for over two years. The controversy surrounding Meng Wanzhou has not been resolved. Unlike the two Michaels confined to Chinese prison cells, she is in custody in her Vancouver mansion. Our feckless PM appears to think that the loss of the rights and freedoms of a couple of Canadian citizens in exchange for “business as usual” with the Peoples’ Republic of China is an acceptable trade-off. He’s wrong!

Of course, the detention of the two Michaels is only one of a long list of human rights violations by the CCP. Others include:

  • Discrimination against and internment of Muslim Uyghurs.
  • Imprisonment of Falun Gong practitioners.
  • Organ harvesting from political prisoners.
  • China’s “one-child” policy which made it illegal, until a few years ago, for women to have a second child. This resulted in imprisonment, brutal forced abortions, and a vastly disproportionate number of young males compared to females.
  • Repression and persecution of Christians.

Global affairs, diplomatic maneuvering, trade negotiations with multiple countries and alliances, realistic and responsible efforts to establish secure borders, immigration, human rights, electronic surveillance . . . all made more complicated by international COVID-related travel restrictions; these are complex matters. No government handles all these disciplines perfectly. Mistakes will be made and some of those mistakes will have tragic consequences. But there are some things that should be evident. We ought not to assist our military competitors—those nations that could conceivably become our enemies in a conflict—in learning how to compete more effectively against us or against our allies.

CHP Canada supports a strong military and a robust policy toward national defence. Our focus, our time, our resources should be dedicated to building up our Canadian forces, training them and equipping them. We are proud of our men and women in uniform and we believe they are serving because they love Canada. Let’s not compromise their training and preparedness by sharing our strategies with the PLA.

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