Terry Glavin: Breaking Beijing’s chokehold on Canada – has Parliament finally wised up? – By Terry Glavin (National Post) / Dec 11 2019
At long last some sunlight is making its way into the ordinarily occluded places where the China lobby is long accustomed to operating out of sight
For the past 30 years, almost without interruption, Canada’s relationship with China has been determined by a closed-loop network of self-dealing and largely interchangeable players in the federal cabinet, the upper echelons of the Foreign Affairs bureaucracy, the Canada China Business Council and a handful of corporate law firms headquartered in Toronto and Montreal.
It’s too early to say whether its chokehold is being broken, but it’s become too painfully obvious over the past year that the influence of that circle of China enthusiasts has been malignant and calamitous to Canada’s national interests. At long last, the crisis set off by Beijing’s abduction of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor last December has caused the public, and quite a few politicians ordinarily preoccupied by more parochial matters, to sit up and pay proper attention.
For the blue-chip elements in the foreign policy establishment that persist in counselling collaboration, accommodation, capitulation and appeasement in the face of Beijing’s bullying, hostage diplomacy, strong-arming and influence-peddling, these are perilous and unhappy times. That’s because there’s finally some sunlight making its way into the ordinarily occluded places where the China lobby is long accustomed to operating out of sight. And what that sunlight threatens to expose will not be pretty.
The influence of that circle of China enthusiasts has been malignant and calamitous to Canada’s national interests
In Parliament this week, Justin Trudeau’s Liberals are finally facing a serious challenge to the jumble of incoherence, paralysis and indifference that has defined the government’s response to China’s various aggressions over the past year, and they’re squirming.
In the Senate, the Liberals are facing a double gauntlet of motions.
One calls for long-overdue sanctions on a roster of human-rights abusers among Chinese officials directly involved in the suppression of Hong Kongers’ rights to autonomy and universal suffrage, and officials overseeing the mass persecution of the Uyghur Muslims of Xinjiang. Beijing’s new ambassador in Ottawa, Cong Peiwu, has already threatened “very firm countermeasures” in retaliation if those sanctions are imposed, as the motion proposes, under the Justice for Victims of Corrupt Foreign Officials Act.