Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Friday May 5, 2023
Chong’s Family Targeted by Chinese Operative: Trudeau Government Plays Dumb
In ancient Rome, Nero famously fiddled while the city burned. In modern-day Canada, it seems that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is similarly preoccupied with distractions while a critical issue simmers. Specifically, the issue of foreign interference from China has been bubbling up for months, and yet the Trudeau government has repeatedly failed to act decisively.
The latest scandal involves the targeting of MP Michael Chong’s family by a Chinese operative, allegedly in retaliation for Chong’s vote in support of deeming China’s treatment of its Uyghur minority as a genocide. This behavior is repugnant and underscores the need for Canada to take a strong stand against foreign interference.
What is truly shocking, however, is that the Trudeau government failed to pass on this critical information to Chong or even the Prime Minister himself. The fact that the Chinese operative remained accredited in the Toronto consulate for two years after being identified as the source of the threat is downright inexplicable.
Trudeau’s response to the situation has been lackluster, with his statements contradicting those of his chief of staff and failing to take decisive action. It was only after the scandal hit the headlines that the government announced it would summon China’s ambassador to Canada to protest the alleged intimidation of Chong and his family.
Expelling a diplomat is not a decision to be taken lightly, but the Trudeau government’s ongoing failure to address the issue of foreign interference suggests that stronger action is needed. The fact that the two Michaels were being held as political prisoners in Beijing when this scandal came to light underscores the severity of the issue.
MP Chong has every right to be upset and is calling for the operative to be declared persona non grata immediately. It is time for the Trudeau government to stop deflecting, downplaying, and obfuscating and take a strong stand against foreign interference.
David Johnston’s upcoming report on the need for a public inquiry into foreign interference is a step in the right direction, but it is increasingly clear that action needs to be taken now. Nero fiddled while Rome burned, but Canada cannot afford to do the same. It’s time for the Trudeau government to wake up and take action to protect our democracy. (AI)