Wake up and show some leadership, Trudeau

By: Surjit Singh Flora

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says his government’s efforts to rally allies to urge China to release two detained Canadians “are working.”

Perhaps the Trudeau team needs a workshop on “the value of the discreet, behind the scenes work of officials in resolving complex and sensitive consular cases, in close partnership with other governments.”

China is the second most powerful country in the world. Canada is far down the ladder. China is a bully that has no respect for rule of law. Canada has no leverage. To expect PM Trudeau to somehow change these game rules, or to believe that another leader like Conservative Party Leader Andrew Scheer would somehow be able to do so, is like believing in the tooth fairy. Instead of constantly criticizing the guy, I cannot help but wonder why Canadians continuously undermine his efforts, and thereby play into the hands of China.

But it isn’t as if Canada has no cards to play. There are thousands and thousands of China’s elite students who live in Canada and who attend Canadian colleges and Universities. While here, getting the highest education, and aspire to a better future here. In coming years, they will be Canada’s ambassadors. Many already look empathetically at Canada.

Then again, while China is undoubtedly the rising economic superpower, and while many countries would like to do business with it, the country’s leadership hasn’t exactly won friends and influenced people.

There are other cards that Canada can play. So, it was surprising to see Trudeau humiliating himself at the G-20, sitting beside Xi Jinping but not uttering a word. Our fearless leader groveled further by getting Trump to say something to President Xi, as if anyone who knows anything about China thinks that would work.

Trudeau has betrayed his father’s legacy of standing up to power (if we recall Pierre Trudeau’s opposition to the Vietnam war) and only made Canada look spineless and weak. Because of Trudeau today the world is laughing at us Canadians.

Even in normal times, China keeps arresting foreigners, not just Canadians. What I don’t get it is why China hasn’t arrested Americans. If China supposedly understands how things work here, they should understand that the US initiated the action.

Also, the other biggest question is: Is China picking on the little guy (Trudeau) because they are too chicken to stand up to Trump?

Well, this is funny. Actually, foreigners are arrested everywhere, even in their home countries, if they break the law or do something wrong. Arresting people without reason is not something the Chinese government should do.

As for the Meng Wenzhou detention, Does Huawei work for the Chinese government? Yes, but it is a private company and works for many other governments to build 5G networks, being a major 5G service provider. And no significant security flaws have been found in Huawei products, although claimed by many US officials for years.

I counted three Canadians that were likely arrested in retaliation to Canada’s arrest of the Huawei CFO on a US extradition warrant. One of the three arrests was a misdemeanor; arrest-deportation were redundant. The remaining two arrests were for charges of endangering China’s security, which are ephemeral and could be spitting at an image of Chairman Jinping. Who can believe that two men of some stature, working on highly visible social development projects, would or could threaten a nation?

Secondly, under extradition treaties, the country issuing the extradition request is in effect responsible for the arrest that follows. Clearly China doesn’t dare confront the US, ergo, Canada is the victim.

Thirdly, Canada is a nation with a well-developed rule of law, meaning among other things that government members cannot interfere with an independent judiciary.

This silly set to is a poorly played propaganda game by a nation claiming millenia of civilization. If development is such a strong suit of China’s, why can China not even understand, much less subscribe, to the rule of law?

Not only that, Donald Trump stepped backward on the trade war with China because of the pressure from U.S. companies themselves.

The simple reality is, Canada has and will continue confronting the US on legal matters and if the US cannot prove to a Canadian court’s satisfaction that the CFO should be tried, she should be released.

As has happened many times in the past. Canada will not demean its rule of law, nor should it. China wants to appear strong, but it appears like what it is: a third world country with third world legal system and a profound ignorance of first world standards.

If Canada used Chinese standards, that CFO would be in the US, facing charges now.

Trudeau has allowed this show to fester by not intervening from the beginning and negotiating her fate with the US.

I guess Justin Trudeau really needs to wake up from being a chicken and show some leadership to get our guys back home.

Surjit Singh Flora

About the author

Asia Metro Editor

Surjit Singh Flora
[email protected]

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