Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Wednesday September 13, 2023
Canada’s Wake-Up Call: Confronting the Fierce Dragon of Chinese Interference
Canada’s government’s sluggish and inadequate response to Chinese foreign interference has come under scrutiny following the recent testimony of Conservative foreign affairs critic Michael Chong in Washington. Chong, who himself has been targeted by the Chinese government, emphasized the necessity of a coordinated approach between Canada and the United States to counter Beijing’s meddling in Western democracies and its harassment of diaspora communities.
Chong’s subtle revelation that the Liberal government did not promptly inform him about Chinese targeting, despite their prior knowledge, raises doubts about the government’s commitment to addressing this issue. The delayed response and reluctance to take decisive action suggest a lack of urgency in safeguarding Canadian sovereignty and democratic principles.
Chong’s account of China’s repressive tactics, including the establishment of unlawful police stations in Canada, coercion of individuals to return to China, and offering rewards for those on “wanted” lists, underscores the gravity of the threat. It is evident that such tactics are incompatible with the values of a free and sovereign nation like Canada.
While Chong advocated for Canada to collaborate closely with the United States and other democracies to counter China’s actions, the challenge lies in Canada’s reliability as a partner. Canada’s failure to seize shipments suspected of exploiting forced Uyghur labor, in contrast to the United States, raises concerns about its commitment to combating human rights abuses.
Canada’s potential to become a more robust partner to the U.S. in countering Chinese interference hinges on implementing regulatory reforms and expediting natural resource projects to facilitate the export of critical minerals and natural gas. The government must follow through on these commitments to effectively support its allies in the battle against foreign interference.
Senator Jeff Merkley’s proposed legislation, aimed at combating transnational repression, underscores the need for a comprehensive and well-coordinated response to foreign interference. Canada must step up its efforts to safeguard its national sovereignty and protect the rights of its citizens from Beijing’s interference, acknowledging the seriousness of the threat and taking substantive action to address it. (AI)