Plan 200 letter to Special Committee on Canada-China Relations member MP John Williamson
3 May 2021
Dear John Williamson, MP,
It was with great delight to learn this past weekend that a local MP has drawn attention to Canada's imbalanced trade relationship with the People's Republic of China (PRC), as well as the fact that contracts are still going to China despite the situation of our two hostages held by the regime there.
If I may, please also let me point out the extent to which trade relations with the PRC are imbalanced, by way of trusted Canadian journalist Terry Glavin:
Canada exported only $25.2 billion worth of stuff to China in 2020, which amounts to roughly four per cent of Canada’s $683-billion exports of goods and services around the world. Four per cent, remember. Meanwhile, Canada imported $76.4 billion of stuff from China last year in a trade imbalance that has been growing steadily, to China’s advantage, for several years. And China has been increasingly turning the trade screws on Canada.
As someone whose career focus on China goes back nearly twenty years—first as a journalist in China and Hong Kong and later in the realm of human rights advocacy with Amnesty International—might I know if your office is interested in learning more about Chinese Communist Party (CCP) influence efforts in Canada? This is a subject I have been carefully researching these past three years to better make the case—inspired by Australia, whose efforts you also mention—for an update to the Criminal Code that introduces new laws against foreign interference, among other policy changes I propose here.
Unfortunately, lack of such laws and factors such as CSIS' culture of not sharing information result ultimately in keeping the RCMP from being able to protect Canadians from the complex CCP threat. As part of this work I have collected stories from PRC newcomers to illustrate what this threat, and our failure to mitigate it with new laws, means in real terms to critics of the CCP. I also welcome the opportunity to present these stories.
Warm thanks for your excellent work,