'Naive' Canada waits in vain for China to 'do the right thing'

Terry Glavin

15 July 2020

As Ottawa’s persistently obsequious approach to Beijing threatens to isolate Canada from efforts by the world’s liberal democracies to confront and contain the increasingly belligerent and oppressive regime of Chinese supreme leader Xi Jinping, the Trudeau government is finding itself increasingly at odds with Canadians, too.

And now a new initiative, spearheaded by the Alliance Canada Hong Kong group and roughly two dozen Uyghur, Tibetan and human rights organizations, has won the backing of nearly 100 MPs and senators, including a couple of influential Liberals. The effort is aimed at pushing the government to sanction specific Chinese officials under Canada’s “Magnitsky law,” the Justice for Victims of Corrupt Foreign Officials Act. But Ottawa’s responses have been, as usual, equivocal, mewling and non-committal.

With British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s announcement this week that China’s shadowy “national champion” telecom giant Huawei will be purged from the U.K.’s 5G (fifth generation) internet networks entirely by 2027, Canada is now alone among the “Five Eyes” consortium in refusing to bar Huawei from 5G rollouts. This not only threatens Canada’s continuing access to collaborative intelligence-sharing operations with the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand. It also leaves Canada with even less leverage for our allies’ help in the matter of Beijing’s kidnapping of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor: Why should other countries stand up for Canada if Canada can’t summon the moxie to stand up for itself?

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