Today – on the 31st anniversary of the Tiananmen Square protest, an iconic demonstration and an important historical milestone — for the first time, the people of Hong Kong have been banned from holding a public vigil marking the date. The nominal reason is COVID-19. But the pattern of actions from the Chinese regime betray a different reason: suppression of dissent, erosion of agency and deliberate tightening of control.
This latest roll-back comes on the heels of a host of other examples of the regime’s aggression, including the eruption from Chinese officials last week over the court decision to continue the extradition proceedings against Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou.
The Communist Party of China (CPC) has threatened further retaliation against Canada for Ms. Meng’s arrest after initially responding to her detention in December 2018 by arresting Canadians Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig, and introducing punitive bans on Canadian imports of canola, beef, and pork.
It dovetails with the Chinese Communist Party’s ongoing crackdown on democracy and autonomy in Hong Kong, its mass repression and detention of the two million Uyghur minority community, the predatory Belt and Road foreign expansionism, rampant IP theft and menacing cyber-attacks.
Last week, China’s military leaders threatened the use of military force to crush Taiwanese independence, and its aggression and military expansion in the South China Sea has caused widespread concern. All of this, as the global pandemic that originated in China and was initially covered up by Communist Party officials, which has caused global economic chaos and the loss of countless lives.
If there was ever a moment when Canada needed to demonstrate strong and unwavering leadership in defence of justice, the rule of law and the repressed, this is it.
However, Prime Minister Trudeau has lacked both the credibility and the fortitude to make the case to the CCP and the world on behalf of Canadians. Instead, his track record is of attempting to undermine our core legal foundations and of silence. He’s even gone so far as to naively express his admiration for China’s “basic dictatorship.”
Putting aside Trudeau’s past ramblings and his refusal to say no to Huawei on 5G, one needs only to revisit the SNC-Lavalin scandal to see why the CCP might think Justin Trudeau doesn’t need to be taken seriously. His actions have plainly demonstrated he doesn’t hold our legal system’s values, independence or our constitutional principles in high regard — and that there’s a gaping chasm between his words and actions.
And at a critical moment when our economy at home is vulnerable and when Canadian citizens and democracy activists in Hong Kong are under threat, Justin Trudeau has aligned with the NDP to close Parliament — preventing the MPs Canadians elected from focusing on protecting our assets from purchase by state-owned enterprises, and blocking them from working to safeguard people in Hong Kong before it’s too late.
We can and should expect more of the same from the Chinese Communist Party regime. It is, after all, a brutal dictatorship, responsible for the oppression of its citizens and interference in the affairs of others. Its Orwellian social surveillance system, supported by Huawei technology, has been used to repress ethnic minorities and China’s leaders repeatedly flout global norms of trade, politics, and public health.
We should, at a moment like this, be able to rely on our Prime Minister to lead the charge in standing up for those under threat, defending our legal system and its core values, and taking a firm stance against continued attacks by China. When Canada needs to show strength and resolve, Trudeau demonstrates weakness. When we should be working with our Five Eyes security partners to stand up to China’s repression in Hong Kong, we instead hear ringing silence. When we should be supporting the UK’s proposal to create a new “D10” group of democracies to create a safe 5G network while redirecting our trade towards reliable, democratic and trustworthy allies, Trudeau instead pursues his pet project of seeking a non-permanent seat on the UN Security Council.
When it comes to defending Canada’s global interests, human rights, democracy, the rule of law and the independence of our justice system Justin Trudeau is simply an emperor with no clothes. In the meantime, the need for justice and protection from those under threat continues. Canadians deserve better.