Paikin: Multiculturalism at 50

Zach Paikin argues for a more externally focussed multiculturalism. Apart from his caricature of multiculturalism “celebration of diversity for diversity’s sake,” various governments have tried to use Canada’s diverse communities to advance Canadian interests with mixed success. And such engagement with all communities is needed and useful, it also runs the risk of becoming engaged in diaspora politics, as we see with respect, for example, Canadian Sikhs or Canadian Jews:

This year marks a half-century since Pierre Trudeau announced Canada’s policy of multiculturalism in the House of Commons in 1971. Much has changed in Canada and the world since then. So, too, should multiculturalism’s place and purpose in our national make-up.

Stephen Marche, writing for Open Canada in 2018, explains what makes Canadian multiculturalism unique: In contrast with societies throughout history that have encouraged cultural openness “to find unity, a common humanity, or even a larger truth,” the purpose of multiculturalism in Canada is “diversity for its own sake. Differences are to be respected, not overcome.” Yet the adoption of multiculturalism was not merely about the ideal of ethnic tolerance. Given the political context in which Canada found itself 50 years ago, it was also a policy with pragmatic and strategic aims.

Increasingly, the strategic rationale that initially underpinned Canadian multiculturalism appears outdated, challenged by the arrival of a post-American world and the shift of global power toward Asia. If it is to retain its purpose as a vehicle for advancing the country’s national interests, multiculturalism in Canada must become more than just a celebration of diversity for diversity’s sake. Rather, Canada’s political leadership should reconceive multiculturalism as a core instrument of national strategy aimed at growing our population, increasing our international clout and rebalancing Canadian foreign policy to reduce our current overdependence on the United States.

*  * *

When first enacted, multiculturalism allowed Canada to advance two core aims: secure national unity and develop a distinct identity from the United States. These goals have been mutually reinforcing throughout Canadian history. Canada was founded as a political project bringing togetherconservative British Loyalists and French Catholics in opposition to the liberal universalism expressed by its southern neighbour. Multiculturalism built on both objectives. By promoting the notion that cultural minorities should be accommodated, it fostered a pan-Canadian framework for addressing Quebec’s grievances. It also articulated an image of Canadian society as a “mosaic” — a clear contrast to the American “melting pot.” Yet if these remain the two metrics by which to judge multiculturalism’s effectiveness, then its continued usefulness could be in doubt.

The demographic and economic rise of Western Canada has gradually shifted the structure of Canadian federalism away from its 19th-century, Laurentian-centric compromise of “two founding peoples.” Taking its place is a heavily decentralized federation featuring a system of competing regionalisms. While multiculturalism may still hold a privileged place in the social fabric of the country’s English-speaking provinces, its role in advancing national unity has waned given the nature of Canada’s new political cleavages.

Perhaps more importantly, Canada has become more Americanized in recent decades, not less. The 1990s saw the advent of continental free trade, along with a U.S.-led effort to expand the liberal international order beyond the western Cold War bloc. In both economic and ideological terms, Canada’s dependence on its southern neighbour deepened. The 9/11 attacks reinforced this trend, forcing Ottawa to focus even more vigorously on how to maintain access to the U.S. market at a time when Washington’s pursuit of global hegemony was sharpening through the George W. Bush administration’s “war on terror” and “freedom agenda.” Today, the growth of protectionist impulses within both major U.S. political parties will continue to pull our focus southward, even as the increasingly multipolar character of world politics suggests that our attention should be directed elsewhere.

This process of Americanization has coincided with a period of decline in Canadian foreign policy. Perceived as too close to the United States and not invested enough in key components of multilateralism, Canada has lost not one but two consecutive bids for a UN Security Council seat, even as fellow G7 countries Germany, Japan and Italy continue to serve as non-permanent members with regularity. Relations with major players in some of the world’s most strategically relevant regions — China, Russia, India, Iran, Saudi Arabia and even the U.S. itself — have reached new lows under governments of both stripes. This almost exclusive foreign policy focus on the U.S. border was epitomized in a 2018 episode when Chrystia Freeland — then serving as foreign affairs minister, not minister of international trade — postponed her speech before the UN General Assembly to pursue NAFTA renegotiation talks with Washington.

It is perhaps not coincidental that the past two decades have also been accompanied by the abandonment of Canada’s traditional national unity debates, or by a six-election-long stretch dating back to 2000 in which no federal political party has managed to rally more than 40 percent of the voting electorate behind it. Rather than pursue the lofty but crucial mission of reimagining the future of Canada’s national community, governments have focused on the managerial and mundane task of tending to the continental trading relationship.

As Canada’s interests on the world stage have come to rest disproportionately on the preservation of a stable trading relationship with its southern neighbour, Ottawa’s pronouncements concerning the rest of the world increasingly centre on partisan discourses directed at a domestic audience. This trend began in earnest under Stephen Harper, whose Conservative Party had the targeting of ethnocultural groups for electoral purposes down to a science. It has continued during Justin Trudeau’s tenure, exemplified by Canada’s ill-timed bid for a UN Security Council seat that was aimed more at strengthening the Liberal narrative that Canada was “back” as a multilateral powerhouse than advancing a long-term, non-partisan national aspiration. (Disclosure: I served on that bid in a minor capacity as a speechwriting consultant.) The recent appointment of Marc Garneau as Trudeau’s fourth minister of foreign affairs in just over five years (and Canada’s 14th since 2000) reflects the fact that the position has become more about domestic politics than actually crafting foreign policy. Co-opting foreign policy into a partisan struggle over national identity makes it difficult to assess Canada’s interests consistently, objectively and as ends worthy of being pursued in themselves.

Over the past half-century, Canada has succeeded in fostering internaldiversity: welcoming the world within our borders to create a cultural mosaic, yet with the aim of building a society converging around a single set of principles and values. This goal reflected the aspirations of Canada’s population at the time of multiculturalism’s adoption. Canada’s initial settlers from France and the British Isles, as well as subsequent immigrant communities such as Jews, Italians, Germans and Ukrainians, had all left the Old World behind in search of a new beginning. By contrast, today’s immigrant communities — hailing largely but not exclusively from East, South and West Asia — are more cosmopolitan. They are, to a far greater extent than previous generations of newcomers, “at home in the world,” often retaining strong personal and cultural connections to their countries of origin.

Canada’s pursuit of multiculturalism must adapt to new strategic imperatives and the country’s changing ethnic composition. In an increasingly Asia-centric world, this requires Canada to embrace externaldiversity: marshalling the focus of its diverse population outwards, with the goal of securing a more substantive place in a politically and intellectually diverse Asian region.

For the bulk of the Cold War following the development of intercontinental ballistic missiles, as well as in the immediate post-Cold War years that featured unrivalled American hegemony, a special relationship with Washington and geographic isolation from the rest of the world served as the guarantors of Canadian security. By contrast, in a post-American world framed increasingly by great power conflict, Canadian and American interests are likely to diverge in important ways. In particular, the deterioration of Sino-American relations, now verging on a cold war, threatens the rules-based order and open global trading system on which Canada relies to assert itself as a sovereign international decision-maker. In this context, the struggle for an independent Canadian identity and role in the world will increasingly take place on the world stage rather than at home.

Given the threat posed by the U.S.-China rivalry to Canadian interests, the challenge for Ottawa will be to craft a role for itself as an autonomous, respected and engaged player in Asian affairs. This will require deep, consistent and sustained partnerships with all regional players and a long-term national strategy that transcends partisan politics. It will also necessitate a more active and independent Canadian role in shaping regional trade and security architecture. This does not imply neutrality between the United States and its rivals, merely greater equilibrium in Canadian foreign policy that prioritizes Canada’s unique interests.

In particular, the absence of the United States and India from the region’s two leading trade blocs — the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership — presents an opening for Canada to assert its presence in Asia. Canada’s position as the second-largest economy in the CPTPP leaves it well placed to spearhead efforts to explore ways of harmonizing the two groupings, perhaps along with the Russian-backed Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU). This could reduce the potential for friction to emerge between rival regional orders — a dynamic that came with dire consequences last decade when Ukraine was forced to choose between moving toward the European Union’s regulatory orbit or aligning itself with the EAEU.

Multiculturalism will continue to provide Canada with the right framework for integrating a diverse range of newcomers in a peaceful fashion, growing its population to a point where it can play a more substantive role in securing its national interests and international peace. But a shifting international order requires that Canada adjust its understanding of multiculturalism from an inward-focused value to celebrate to an outward-focused cause to rally around. Much as the 19th-century risorgimentocreated Italy but not Italians, multiculturalism created Canada out of the ashes of British North America. But what it means to be Canadian beyond being a “kinder, gentler version of the United States” — in other words, not American, but like America — remains unresolved.

Marche’s essay laments that multiculturalism has thus far proven too “polite” and orf“hesitant” to produce an “art of respectful difference,” contrasting with beautiful artistic forms such as jazz that emerged from the “insistence of personhood” in more unjust societies. Increasing Canada’s international clout in the world’s central strategic theatre will indeed require Ottawa to navigate a region rife with moral ambiguity. Yet if Canada emerges from the coming decades as a leading international player in its own right, unrivalled in the uniqueness of its multicultural social fabric, then it will possess the heft, respect and visibility necessary to contribute to the debate over the nature of justice and tolerance in a diverse world. Perhaps, at that point, Canada itself would embody the art of respectful difference.

Source: Multiculturalism at 50

McCuaig-Johnston: We thought China could become more democratic. Instead, it is becoming totalitarian

Good commentary:

China’s regime is often called authoritarian.  It certainly has been that under Xi Jinping.  But its recent programs of surveillance and repression show the characteristics of a totalitarian state, with technologies of which Hitler and Mussolini could only dream.

This is shocking given the expectation that decades of economic reform would bring liberalization and some democratic attributes. But Xi has turned his ship of state around. In the Economist’s 2019 Democracy Index, China’s regression resulted in a fall of 23 places in the ranking in one year. It is now near the bottom, below Iran, at 153 out of 167 countries.

An attribute of totalitarian states is a single party, intolerant of differing opinions and controlling citizens’ lives. The Chinese Communist Party is exactly that, injecting itself into the justice system whenever it wishes. Its Social Credit System monitors all WeChat and Weibo exchanges through algorithms that identify those discussing June 4 or May 35, which mean the Tiananmen massacre, or referring to Winnie the Pooh, whose walk is similar to Xi’s. Not taking out the garbage, paying your loans late, getting traffic violations and not adhering to birth control regulations will also give you a bad social credit score. Chinese can lose their jobs or the right to send their child to a good school. Tens of millions have not been permitted to fly or take trains due to their low scores. Citizens understandably fear the blacklists and are self-censoring, which is what the regime wants.

Corporate Social Credit System now applies to domestic and foreign companies and organizations operating in China. If they do not comply fully with every regulation or if they speak out against government policies, the company will not have access to grants, procurement contracts, land or lower taxes. If their employees or suppliers have poor scores, the company is punished. Both credit systems will be tightened over time, and party committees in each company ensure that corporate decisions advance the party’s interests.

Another attribute of totalitarianism is a guiding ideology. In China, that is Xi Jinping Thought, a three-volume book that each citizen must study on an app that knows when they are scrolling through quickly without looking.

Totalitarian regimes have low tolerance of religions, and we have seen this in Tibet and Xinjiang incarcerations, mass sterilization, voice pattern telephone surveillance and forced labour that implicates the foreign firms for whom the products are made. Uyghurs able to return home are assigned a young Han man or woman to live in their house to ensure that they and their children are speaking Mandarin and not practising their religion. In a nod to 1984, they are called Big Brother and Big Sister, and the Han in this “family program” are encouraged to marry Uyghurs to thin the genetic stream.

Christian churches have had their crosses torn down, Xi’s photo and Xi Jinping Thought placed prominently in sanctuaries, and senior appointments approved by the party. House churches are regularly closed and clergy incarcerated.

Citizens speaking out on issues such as free speech, environmental degradation, and expropriation without compensation have been subjected to daily interrogations in a metal tiger chair with wrists and ankles in vises, often in freezing conditions.

Hundreds of thousands of websites have been shut down for inappropriate content, particularly regarding Xi and the party. The Great Firewall is thickening, VPNs have been banned, and party control of all media ensures that citizens see themselves as ruled by a benevolent leader. Those who could pose competition to Xi’s leadership have been imprisoned under cover of his anti-corruption campaign.

Hong Kong’s democratic leadership has been arrested en masse, and recently citizens found they were no longer able to access certain websites. Under the National Security Law, the government can force websites to remove any information that could “endanger national security.” Schoolbooks are being edited and teachers’ roles circumscribed. It is possible that Kong Kong could see even more repression as the regime uses its tools of surveillance to quash any thought of independence.

In the ultimate measure of extraterritorial control, the National Security Law provides that any person who speaks out against the Chinese regime anywhere in the world can be extradited and prosecuted in China. Two Danish politicians were recently named for extradition for helping a former Hong Kong legislator seek asylum in Denmark. Fortunately, Denmark does not have an extradition agreement with China, nor does Canada – but many do. Members of the Chinese diaspora are threatened with harm to their relatives in China to prevent them from criticizing the regime.

We must call China as it is: an emerging totalitarian regime with no regard for rights. Western democracies have been meeting to decide how to push back collectively against China’s actions. Our governments must now deal with China as it really is, not as they wish it were.

Margaret McCuaig-Johnston is Senior Fellow, Institute of Science, Society and Policy at the University of Ottawa.


ICYMI: Huawei: Uighur surveillance fears lead [Danish] PR exec to quit: Time for Canadian executives to reflect

Canadian Huawei executives need to consider their position given overall the company’s links to the Chinese government, its repression of the Uighurs, the takeover of Hong Kong and last, but not least, the arbitrary detention of the two Michaels. Former political staffers in particular:

Tommy Zwicky had worked in the company’s Danish office for six months and was a former journalist.

It comes after internal Huawei documents were made public, which mentioned a “Uighur alarm” system that it had worked on with Chinese facial-recognition specialist Megvii in 2018.

Huawei said it opposed discrimination.

“We provide general-purpose connectivity products based on recognised industry standards, and we comply with ethics and governance systems around emerging technology,” it told the BBC.

“We do not develop or sell systems that identify people by their ethnicity, and we do not condone the use of our technologies to discriminate against or oppress members of any community.”

A spokeswoman for Megvii declined to comment, but the firm has previously said its systems are not designed to target or label specific ethnic groups.

It is believed that the Chinese government has detained up to a million Uighurs in Xinjiang province in what the state defines as “re-education camps”.

Beijing has consistently denied mistreatment and says the camps are designed to stamp out terrorism and improve employment opportunities.

Disputed title

Mr Zwicky had previously worked for a Danish newspaper, and before that was editor-in-chief of the Danish Broadcasting Corporation.

He officially remains under contract to Huawei until February and is unable to discuss his decision further.

He first announced his departure via Twitter and LinkedIn.

Following this, his boss characterised Mr Zwicky as being a low-level PR manager and Huawei also took issue with Mr Zwicky being described as a vice president of communications, as this signifies a senior role in its corporate structure.

However, articles published at the time of his appointment referred to the fact that this specific title had indeed been created for Mr Zwicky and quoted the chief of Huawei Denmark as saying: “Tommy is a well-known and respected name in the Danish media. With him on board, we feel confident that we can take communication to a new level.”

When asked about this, Mr Zwicky told the BBC: “My title was vice president of communications at Huawei Denmark. I have no further comments.”

His decision comes a week after French football star Antoine Griezmann ended his sponsorship deal with Huawei after raising his own concerns about “strong suspicions” that the company had been involved in developing an alert system to monitor the Uighurs.

‘Confidential’ tests

American surveillance research firm IPVM brought to light the Chinese-language documents on 8 December.

They were marked as confidential but were being hosted publicly on Huawei’s European website.

The report referenced an “interoperability test [in which] Huawei and Megvii jointly provided a face-recognition solution based on Huawei’s video cloud solution. In the solution, Huawei provided servers, storage, network equipment, its FusionSphere cloud platform, cameras and other software and hardware, [while] Megvii provided its dynamic facial-recognition system software”.

Among the functions of Megvii’s software that the report said Huawei had verified was a “Uighur alert”. 

IPVM said a separate box added to Megvii’s software was capable of determining ethnicity as part of its “face attribute analysis”.

The page became inaccessible shortly after the Washington Post asked the firm about its existence.

At the time Huawei said the document had referenced a “test”, which had not seen a real-world application. 

But the the Post later published a second article which said Huawei’s site indicated it had worked with four other companies on products advertised to have ethnicity-tracking capabilities.

In response, Huawei promised to carry out a follow-up investigation, but continued to deny it sold systems that identified people by their ethnicity.

Unsatisfactory response

Concerns about both firm’s activities in this area date back further,

The US added Megvii to a trade blacklist in 2019 over concerns that its tech was being used by the Chinese authorities to carry out “repression, mass arbitrary detention, and high-technology surveillance”.

And the same year, a group of 13 UK MPs and members of the House of Lords published a letter raising concerns that Huawei was “facilitating a programme of ethnic repression” against the Uighurs.

The BBC has been told that about this time, Westerners working for the firm asked head office for more details about work it was doing for the Chinese authorities in Xinjiang and felt they had never got a satisfactory answer.

But one noted that this it was not uncommon for companies to be wary about discussing sensitive matters with staff.


Les francophones quasiment absents des postes clés de la diplomatie canadienne

While I focus more on visible minority representation, did a quick check of the head of mission data that I keep which confirms their concerns (the government over the past five years has improved representation of women and visible minorities in head of mission appointments):

L’ère des influents diplomates francophones au sein du réseau diplomatique canadien est révolue. Presque uniquement composée d’anglophones, la haute direction d’Affaires mondiales Canada ne fait accéder que d’autres anglophones aux postes stratégiques, forçant au passage bien des francophones ambitieux à faire carrière dans leur langue seconde.

Le Devoir s’est entretenu avec une dizaine d’employés d’expérience, cadres et ex-cadres d’Affaires mondiales Canada, dont un ambassadeur en fonction. Tous sont d’avis que l’absence de francophones aux postes clés de la diplomatie canadienne est très préoccupante. Plusieurs d’entre eux dénoncent un climat d’indifférence face au français qui s’est amplifié avec le temps, malgré les espoirs suscités par l’entrée en fonction du ministreFrançois-Philippe Champagne, lui-même francophone. Son bureau n’a pas directement réagi aux questions du Devoir, laissant la rédaction d’une réponse aux bons soins de ses fonctionnaires. Ils confirment « certains défis au niveau des cadres supérieurs », alors même qu’un grand nombre des employés du ministère sont francophones.

Tout en haut de la pyramide, les quatre sous-ministres qui dirigent l’institution fédérale sont tous anglophones, comme 11 des 12 sous-ministres adjoints des prestigieux secteurs « géographique » et « fonctionnel ». Tous secteurs confondus, les quelques sous-ministres adjoints francophones occupent les postes les moins stratégiques pour les affaires extérieures, comme les ressources humaines ou l’administration, selon une analyse de l’organigramme obtenu par Le Devoir, confirmée par des sources au sein de l’organisation. En plus, parmi les 15 sièges de directeurs généraux, patrons des ambassadeurs, seulement deux sont occupés par des francophones, dont le responsable d’Affaires panafricaines, qui n’a pas d’ambassade sous sa responsabilité.

« Affaires mondiales Canada est l’un des ministères les plus francophones de la machine fédérale, mais ça ne se traduit absolument pas au niveau supérieur. C’est un peu comme si on était dans les années 1950 : tout le monde sur le plancher de la manufacture est francophone et, au niveau des contremaîtres, tout le monde est anglophone », témoigne un employé haut placé d’une ambassade canadienne qui a requis l’anonymat puisqu’il n’est pas autorisé à parler publiquement de cette question.

« Je ne peux même pas vous nommer un francophone et dire “cette personne-là a de l’influence”. »

La dernière francophone à occuper un poste stratégique dans la haute direction des Affaires étrangères fut Isabelle Bérard, ex-cheffe de la branche Afrique subsaharienne. Elle a été remplacée en 2020 par une haute fonctionnaire anglophone ayant fait carrière dans d’autres ministères et qui n’a aucune expérience en diplomatie.

« La langue, c’est important, mais la compétence est importante aussi. Si vous ne connaissez rien à l’Afrique et vous êtes nommée sous-ministre adjointe à l’Afrique… À mon avis, c’est un sacré problème », a commenté Jocelyn Coulon, qui a été conseiller politique de l’ancien ministre des Affaires étrangères Stéphane Dion.

Sommet de la pyramide

Si le gouvernement ne nomme que des anglophones dans les postes de haute gestion les plus importants, ce n’est pas faute de relève francophone au sein de l’organisation. Selon un courriel datant de 2019 obtenu par Le Devoir qui recense le nombre de cadres d’Affaires mondiales Canada pour chacune des langues officielles, les francophones représentent une grande part des gestionnaires de premier et de second niveau (EX1 et EX2), à environ 30 %. Au fur et à mesure que l’on monte les échelons, toutefois, leur nombre s’amenuise, à approximativement 1 gestionnaire sur 8 aux hauts niveaux (EX4 et EX5). Des données plus récentes, mais moins précises, fournies par Affaires mondiales Canada confirment que les francophones sont plus nombreux à rester au bas de la pyramide.

« La haute gestion est anglophone et a de la difficulté à lire ou écrire en français. C’est presque impossible de monter au sein du ministère à un poste de haute gestion », témoigne un ex-cadre francophone d’Affaires mondiales Canada qui ne souhaite pas être nommé, par crainte de répercussions pour non-respect d’une entente de confidentialité.

Tous les cadres et ex-cadres consultés s’entendent pour dire que, même si de nombreux anglophones parlent un excellent français à Affaires mondiales Canada, les exigences linguistiques pour les anglophones permettent même à ceux qui maîtrisent très mal la langue de Molière d’accéder à la haute direction, alors qu’une faiblesse en anglais écrit est susceptible de bloquer la carrière de francophones. Pourtant, l’article 39 de la Loi sur les langues officielles garantit les mêmes possibilités d’avancement pour les fonctionnaires des deux groupes linguistiques.

« Je ne dirais pas qu’il n’y a pas de cadres supérieurs francophones, mais de plus en plus, ils sont ghettoïsés dans des fonctions, pas sans importance, mais corporatives. Et c’est la même chose pour les ambassadeurs. Les francophones sont en voie de disparition au niveau des postes à l’étranger », se désole un ambassadeur qui a requis l’anonymat pour parler librement de cette question.

Nostalgique, le diplomate posté à l’étranger se désole de la fin d’une époque où des Canadiens francophones s’illustraient sur la scène mondiale, comme au début des années 2000, avec Claude Laverdure comme ambassadeur de France, Marc Lortie en Espagne, Joseph Caron en Chine ou encore Gaëtan Lavertu au Mexique, pour ne nommer que ceux-là. Excluant les « nominations politiques » de Stéphane Dion en Allemagne et d’Isabelle Hudon en France, ainsi que deux postes vacants, aucun diplomate francophone de carrière n’est ambassadeur dans un pays du G20 en ce moment, témoignent les profils des chefs de mission en poste.

Selon plusieurs sources, certains ambassadeurs canadiens à l’étranger ne parlent pas du tout français. « De plus en plus, nos ambassadeurs ne sont pas capables de s’exprimer en français, confirme Pierre Alarie, ex-ambassadeur du Mexique à la retraite depuis 2019. Je ne comprends pas que, dans un pays de 38 millions de personnes, on n’est pas capables de trouver 175 chefs de mission bilingues. »

Lente érosion

« Il y a eu une érosion ces dernières années. On a perdu une sensibilité au français, croit Guy Saint-Jacques, ex-ambassadeur canadien en Chine, jusqu’en 2006. C’est très préoccupant. Le ministère est le visage du Canada à l’étranger. Si on n’a plus de français, c’est un problème. »

Il précise toutefois que la langue de Molière est malmenée depuis longtemps aux Affaires étrangères. Lui-même témoigne avoir tenté d’obtenir une promotion dans les années 1990 devant un jury tout anglophone, dont un membre ne parlait pas français. Plusieurs sources indiquent que cette situation se produit encore de nos jours.

« Le français s’est émietté d’unefaçon progressive, en même temps que les sous-ministres sont devenus des gestionnaires et le pouvoir du bureau du premier ministre s’est accru », confirme l’ex-ambassadeur Ferry de Kerckhove, en poste jusqu’en 2011. Selon lui, l’incorporation du Commerce extérieur aux Affaires étrangères, dans les années 1980, puis plus récemment la fusion de l’Agence canadienne de développement international (ACDI), en 2013, ont provoqué une centralisation du pouvoir qui a fait globalement diminuer l’influence des francophones dans la diplomatie canadienne.

Basée à Gatineau, l’ACDI était réputée comme étant la chasse gardée des francophones. L’institution a été engloutie par la mégastructure actuelle qui chapeaute trois ministères, renommée Affaires mondiales Canada par Justin Trudeau en 2015.

« On s’est privés de beaucoup d’expertise francophone », analyse Isabelle Roy, ex-ambassadrice retraitée depuis le début de l’année et spécialiste de l’Afrique. Selon elle, la tendance à l’anglicisation des hautes sphères diplomatique a des conséquencessur la manière dont le Canada pratique sa diplomatie. Plusieurs autres ex-ambassadeurs se désolent aussi de la perte du point de vue francophone dans la façon dont le Canada interagit avec le monde. « Ça creuse le sillon d’une sensibilité accrue envers certains pays, et une sensibilité déficiente pour d’autres pays », conclut Mme Roy.

Faire carrière en anglais

Faute de francophones dans la haute direction, de nombreux fonctionnaires du réseau diplomatique font le choix de mener leur vie professionnelle uniquement en anglais, confirment lesemployés et ex-employés interrogés.

« Faire carrière [en politique étrangère], pour un francophone, veut dire faire carrière en anglais. Si on veut faire carrière en français, c’est se cantonner dans des fonctions corporatives. Ça ne sera pas en politique étrangère comme telle », affirme un employé d’Affaires mondiales comptant 20 ans de carrière et ayant requis l’anonymat puisqu’il n’a pas l’autorisation de parler aux médias.

Les ambassadeurs et ex-ambassadeurs interrogés ont tous dressé le portrait d’une administration qui n’oblige pas explicitement l’utilisation de l’anglais dans les communications, mais qui instaure un climat dans lequel un travail sera ignoré des patrons s’il est rédigé dans la langue de Molière.

« Pour ce qui est des réunions, on nous réitère toujours qu’on est libres de parler la langue de notre choix. Mais surtout pour les réunions de haut niveau, c’est presque être le trouble-fête si on insiste à [vouloir] s’exprimer en français, parce qu’on sait qu’il y a des hauts gestionnaires qui ne maîtrisent pas le français, même s’ils ont peut-être le niveau C [niveau de compétence requis pour certains postes] », témoigne un ambassadeur actuellement en poste à l’étranger.

Affaires mondiales Canada confirme qu’une grande part de ses employés (42 %) sont francophones, un taux qui chute à 18 % chez les hauts cadres, selon son calcul. « Le ministère reconnaît qu’il existe certains défis au niveau des cadres supérieurs et cela fait partie des stratégies mises en place dans notre Plan d’action pour les langues officielles 2019-2022 », explique la porte-parole d’Affaires mondiales Canada, Ciara Trudeau, par courriel.

Dans sa réponse fournie au Devoir, le gouvernement précise qu’il met en avant le caractère bilingue du Canada en guise d’exemple d’une société ouverte à la diversité linguistique auprès des autres pays.

Source: Les francophones quasiment absents des postes clés de la diplomatie canadienne

Secretive Switzerland-China immigration deal fuels concern

Legitimate worries. Hopefully no equivalent with Canadian government:

Switzerland gave Chinese security agents free run inside its borders and the rest of Europe for five years as part of a secretive immigration agreement between the two countries, according to human rights watchdog Safeguard Defenders.

While the agreement officially expired this week, Safeguard Defenders warned that it was up for renewal in a report released on Thursday.

The deal allows Chinese officials to visit Switzerland for up to two weeks to interview and remove nationals who have been found to be residing illegally in the European country and take them back to China.

While Switzerland maintains similar agreements with immigration authorities from 52 other countries and territories, including Hong Kong and Macau, its deal with China is unique in that it grants powers to China’s Ministry of Public Security as opposed to immigration officials, according to Safeguard Defenders.

These officials are allowed access to investigate “irregular immigration” as opposed to “illegal immigration” as detailed in agreements with the countries, the organisation said.

“In China, the Ministry of Public Security is the paramount structure of power second only to the Communist Party itself, and it is through the MPS that the Party wields its authority over perceived threats,” said Michael Caster, senior adviser at Safeguard Defenders.

“The real question is why would Switzerland agree to any bilateral partnership with a state agency known for widespread and systematic human rights abuses, including torture, especially when that partnership is about the surveillance, custody, and repatriation of individuals at risk of abuse,” he said.

The deal was signed in 2015 but was not made public, so even Swiss parliamentarians on the country’s Foreign Affairs Committee were unaware of it, according to Swiss news outlet ZZ am Sonntag, which first broke the story in August.

MPs were reportedly not notified because the agreement was considered an “administrative” matter, the newspaper said.

The text of the document is also not available online. The Swiss State Secretariat for Migration (SEM) offers a link to the agreement on its government website, but clicking on the link reveals that no document has been uploaded.

The SEM acknowledged the existence of the agreement to Al Jazeera in a response to written questions, and said it was neither unlisted nor confidential. “The full text has always been transmitted upon request,” spokesman Lukas Rieder said.

Rieder said Swiss migration authorities decide, together with the cantons, which people will be presented to any visiting delegation, and then organise the mission.

The duration of the stay depends on the number of interviews, which take place at the offices of the SEM, and the visiting delegation has no influence over the amount of time they spend in Switzerland, it said.

“Chinese authorities do not receive any information on persons at risk or persecuted,” Rieder said, stressing that the only information provided was for identification purposes. “No sensitive data or information is provided which could endanger the persons concerned” or their relatives.

He added that while a continuation of the agreement was “in Switzerland’s interest” there was “no urgency” for the renewal.

Operation Fox Hunt

ZZ am Sonntag earlier reported that while the arrangement had not been used to deport Uighurs or Tibetans, others might have fallen victim to it.

On the one known occasion that the agreement was activated in 2016, Chinese agents visited Switzerland to remove 13 people, among them four asylum seekers, the newspaper said.

Caster said the agreement could also have been used to conduct influence campaigns in Switzerland and elsewhere in Europe, as the Schengen system allows the security agents unrestricted access across much of the continent.

While Safeguard Defenders said it did not find specific evidence in this case, China had been known to perform similar operations outside its borders, including forcefully repatriating and harassing its own citizens.

Known as Operation Fox Hunt or Operation Sky Net, the campaign has intensified under Chinese President Xi Jinping, who has led an anti-corruption drive across China since he took office in 2012.

Chinese state news agency Xinhua said the operation has brought nearly 6,000 people back to China since 2014, including 1,425 members of the Communist Party.

Some of the most prominent cases include Xiao Jianhua, a Chinese-Canadian billionaire abducted from his Hong Kong hotel room in 2017, and Gui Minhai, a Chinese-Swedish bookseller who was taken from Thailand in 2015. Former Interpol chief Meng Hongwei was picked up when he made a trip back to China from France in 2018.

Security agents have also harassed Chinese citizens and dissidents living abroad. In October, the US Justice Department indicted eight Chinese nationals with charges including stalking and coercion of Chinese abroad to encourage them to return to China.

“We have clearly seen the lengths Chinese security officials have gone to abduct Chinese citizens from other sovereign nations or wage sophisticated surveillance or influence campaigns and where there is a loophole we can be certain that agents of the Chinese state will have sought ways to exploit it,” Caster said.

“As long as secret agreements, like this one with the Swiss Government, allow unfettered access to Chinese security agents, we can never rule out a greater extent of abuse.”

Source: Secretive Switzerland-China immigration deal fuels concern

Tohti and Burton: Canada must respond to China’s harrowing genocide

More on the oppression Uyghurs and the need for more forceful policy responses:
As the world somberly marked UN Genocide Commemoration Day this week, Canadians still await their own government’s action after a parliamentary panel found that China’s persecution of Uyghurs is now the largest mass detention of a people in concentration camps since the Holocaust.Last summer, the House of Commons Subcommittee on International Human Rightsheld a series of emergency meetings on the plight of the Uyghur population in China, in response to growing reports of forced labour, forced sterilization and population control.

The subcommittee received briefs and testimony from 23 Canadian and international witnesses, who detailed atrocities in China’s flourishing campaign to eradicate Uyghur culture and identity by engaging two million people in forced labour and mental torture.

The subcommittee heard that in the prison camps, Uyghurs are required to speak only Mandarin Chinese and are denied their human right to practise their religion. Women and girls often face sexual abuse and rape by their captors. The situation for their children consigned to orphanages is one of complete assimilation into Han Chinese language and culture, combined with the desperation of having no information on the fate of their parents.

Family abroad, meantime, have no means to communicate with anyone in the Uyghur regions. The stress on Canadian Uyghurs of not knowing if family members are alive is enormous, and they are subject to menacing threats by Chinese agents in Canada who intimidate them from speaking out on what’s going on. These threats sometimes precede the sudden death of family members in the camps. There was also extensive evidence given of sterilization of Uyghur women and forced marriage to Han Chinese men.

The subcommittee’s report to Parliament this Fall found that China’s policies toward Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims are worse than imagined. It concurred with testimony by former human rights lawyer and Canadian justice minister Irwin Cotler, who called the Uyghur situation “a classic case study of such war crimes, crimes against humanity and, as I and others have mentioned, acts that are constitutive of genocide.”

Cotler and others implored the Canadian government to take various measures including working with allies and multilateral organizations to condemn China’s use of concentration camps, extending sanctuary for Uyghur refugees trapped in third countries, and refusing to import products of Uyghur forced labour.

The subcommittee is urging the federal government to impose Sergei Magnitsky Actsanctions on all Chinese government officials culpable for perpetrating human rights abuses, and notes that if the international community does not condemn China’s campaign in Xinjiang province, a precedent will be set and such atrocities will be adopted by other regimes.

Besides Wednesday having been Genocide Commemoration Day, Dec. 9 was also the 72nd anniversary of the Genocide Convention, the first human rights treaty adopted by the United Nations General Assembly. The Convention signifies the international community’s commitment to “never again” and establishes a duty for states to prevent and punish the crime of genocide.

But as the months go by, it becomes increasingly apparent the Canadian government will ignore the findings and recommendations of its own parliamentary subcommittee. The federal government will not expel any Chinese diplomats overseeing the harassment of people in Canada, instead advising Uyghur Canadians to contact local police if they are subject to threats. And evidently Beijing has sufficient influence in Canada to put a stop to any talk of Magnitsky sanctions against complicit Communist officials, some of whom have real estate here and children enrolled in Canadian schools.

In the end, it all seems to be about racism and the critical position of Uyghur territory for China’s global “Belt and Road” infrastructure campaign. As Uyghurs call for self-rule in an independent East Turkestan principality, China evidently believes it can solve that problem through its cultural extermination efforts.

The subcommittee’s report aptly quotes Nobel Peace laureate Elie Wiesel: “Silence in the face of evil ends up being complicity with evil itself.” It is time Canada stopped standing idly by and showed some legitimacy for our purported commitment to the rules-based international order.

Mehmet Tohti is Executive Director at Uyghur Rights Advocacy Project. Charles Burton is a senior fellow at the Macdonald-Laurier Institute in Ottawa, and non-resident senior fellow of the European Values Center for Security Policy in Prague. He is a former professor of political science at Brock University, and served as a diplomat at Canada’s Embassy in Beijing.

Source: Tohti and Burton: Canada must respond to China’s harrowing genocide

Canada won’t lead boycott of 2022 Olympic Games in Beijing

Wrong call, as others have mentioned. Will be used as propaganda by the Chinese regime much as Hitler used the 1936 Berlin Olympics (only saved by Jesse Owen’s win).

Canadian Olympians, and the Canadian Olympic Committee, need to reflect hard on their complicity with the various aspects of Chinese repression (Uighurs, Hong Kong, arbitrary arrests etc) should they attend – even if the two Michael’s are released by then:

The Canadian government has no plans to lead the way amid growing calls for an international boycott of the 2022 Olympics in China.

Foreign Affairs Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne told the House of Commons special committee on Canada-China relations Monday that a decision on a boycott should be left to private sports bodies participating in the Winter Games in Beijing.

“I think when it comes to sports and politics … one has to be careful. That is a decision for the Canadian Olympic Committee to make and certainly we will look to see their decision when it comes to the Olympics in Beijing,” Champagne told MPs.

Conservative foreign affairs critic Michael Chong raised the issue, noting that former Privy Council clerk Michael Wernick had suggested last week that the government should start preparing the Canadian public for a boycott of the Olympic Games. The Winter Olympics are scheduled to take place in Beijing in February, 2022.

David Mulroney, a former Canadian ambassador, has called on Ottawa to boycott the Olympic Games and to impose sanctions on China for its human-rights abuses. John Higginbotham, who previously served as commissioner for Canada in Hong Kong, a role equivalent to an ambassador, has also said Canada should organize a boycott of the Games unless China “lays off Hong Kong.”

In September, more than 160 human-rights groups called on the IOC to withdraw the Games from Beijing because of gross human-rights abuses. In a letter, the organizations said China has put more than one million Uyghurs in detention camps and set up an “Orwellian surveillance network” in Tibet and crushed democratic dissent in Hong Kong.

Britain’s foreign secretary, Dominic Rabb, has refused to rule out boycotting the Beijing Games because of the treatment of Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities in China’s Xinjing region, where they have been subject to mass incarceration, forced sterilizations and forced labour.

United States Senators Rick Scott and Josh Hawley have urged NBC Universal, which owns the rights to broadcast the Beijing Olympics, to “pick human rights over profits” and refuse to air the Games.

A Canadian House of Commons committee recently accused China of committing “genocide” against its Muslim minorities and has called for Magnitsky-style sanctions against Chinese officials. The committee did not call for a boycott of the Olympics.

Beijing is set to become the first city to play host to both Summer and Winter Games.

Last week, the COC announced that two-time Olympic gold medallist speedskater Catriona Le May Doan will serve as Canada’s chef de mission for the 2022 Olympics.

In his testimony Monday evening, Champagne appeared to back off a pledge to unveil a new framework for Canada-China policy before the end of the year.

Under questioning from MPs, the minister would only say that Canada’s China policy is “evolving” and that is based on Canadian interests, values and principles on human rights and rules and partnership.

“Our foreign policy needs to evolve with an evolving China … and that is what we are already putting in motion,” he said.

Senior officials have privately played down the significance of Champagne’s talk of a new China policy. Officials told The Globe there will be no formal declaration on China but relations will be managed with the new reality that Chinese President Xi Jinping has adopted an aggressive and regressive policy within China and to the outside world.

In his opening remarks, Champagne acknowledged that the China of 2015 is not the China of today, expressing concern about its expansion policies, including in the High Arctic.

Senior officials have privately played down the significance of Champagne’s talk of a new China policy. Officials told The Globe there will be no formal declaration on China but relations will be managed with the new reality that Chinese President Xi Jinping has adopted an aggressive and regressive policy within China and to the outside world.

In his opening remarks, Champagne acknowledged that the China of 2015 is not the China of today, expressing concern about its expansion policies, including in the High Arctic.

“We see a country and leadership that is increasingly prepared to throw its weight around to expand its interests,” he said. “China’s ambition even reaches the Arctic region with aims to develop shipping lanes … this is a new reality that we need to take into account and thus engage with China with eyes wide open.”


Ivison: Useful idiots of the world unite – and they have, with ‘Free Meng’ event

Appropriate use of the term:

The etymology of the phrase “useful idiot” is debated. Some people suggest it was coined by Lenin. Others credit Stalin, who used it to describe the confused and misguided American sympathizers who aided the Soviet agenda.

It came to mind when reading about a virtual event being held Tuesday in anticipation of the second anniversary of the arrest of Meng Wanzhou, the Huawei executive being detained in Vancouver, pending extradition to the United States.

That’s shocking.

Ashton has not only agreed to participate in the event, she has sponsored a petition in the House of Commons that calls for Meng’s immediate release; urges the government to “protect Canadian jobs” by allowing Huawei to participate in the roll-out of 5G in Canada, and encourages a foreign policy review to develop an “independent” foreign policy on China.

Yves Engler, a fellow of the Canadian Foreign Policy Institute, said he is sympathetic to the plight of the two Michaels. “But who began the process? Hostage diplomacy is a terrible idea but who started it?” he said.

Meng’s detention “upholds unilateral and illegal U.S. sanctions” against Iran, he said.

That’s not true.

U.S. authorities are seeking Meng’s extradition on fraud charges, alleging she lied to HSBC as part of a scheme to obtain financing, thereby putting the bank at risk of violating U.S. sanctions in Iran.

However, when B.C. Supreme Court judge Heather Holmes ruled that Meng can be sent to the U.S. to be prosecuted, she did so because she deemed her crime, as alleged by the U.S., is also a crime in Canada. The essence of the alleged crime was not violating U.S. sanctions but deceiving a bank to obtain financial services.

On the petition’s second demand, Engler defended the call to allow Huawei to be involved in Canada’s 5G network. “We have real concerns about surveillance…The Chinese government has its own repressive spying and intelligence apparatus. But it doesn’t come close to the power of the NSA (America’s National Security Agency) or the Five Eyes (the intelligence alliance comprising Canada, the U.S., U.K, Australia and New Zealand). Canadians should be more concerned about the NSA in Canada than the Chinese government,” he said. “I don’t think that China is a threat to most Canadians.”

While it is true that no Huawei code or hardware has been linked definitively to the Chinese state, the company is beholden to the Communist Party’s interests and instruction. Security experts believe that Huawei receives contracts from the Chinese military to develop dual use communications technology and that the threat is legitimate.

A generous interpretation is that Engler, Manly and Ashton are well-intentioned idealists who qualify for Stalin’s (or Lenin’s) depiction.

Engler admitted he has never been to China, where surveillance has been elevated to an art-form.

We can probably all agree that we do not welcome a cold war with the Chinese, far less anything warmer.

But to present, as the Canadian Peace Congress does, Meng’s detention as “an unprovoked kidnapping,” or Canada’s participation in naval operations in east Asia as an attempt to “provoke and encircle the PRC,” is to take adolescent gullibility to dangerous levels.

Ashton can have no excuses. She has been an MP for 12 years and run for her party’s leadership twice.

Does she agree with the Communist Party’s English language mouthpiece, the Global Times, that Canada has surrendered its judicial and diplomatic independence to the U.S.?

I would have asked her, if she had returned calls seeking comment.

A far less benign but more considered view of China emerged from last weekend’s Halifax Security Forum, which summarized the opinions of 250 experts in a handbook for delegates. The forum concluded that modern-day China has become the most powerful authoritarian state in history and a major challenger to the liberal world. The consensus is that China’s ambitions will not stop at its borders and that it intends to undermine democracies around the world – in particular in Hong Kong and Taiwan, which “now hang precariously in the balance.”

Even if the radical left is able to discount what is going on in Hong Kong and the South China Sea, how can it overlook the oppression in Xinjiang that all human rights organizations say is intensifying?

The explanation appears to be a reflexive contempt and loathing toward the United States that excuses any and all atrocities by other nations.

This, after all, is the same Niki Ashton who tweeted #HandsOff Venezuela last year, in support of the despicable Nicolas Maduro regime. The illegitimate president must have been gratified that the world is so packed with useful idiots.

Source: Useful idiots of the world unite – and they have, with ‘Free Meng’ event

Canada shouldn’t go to Winter Olympics in Beijing

Agree with Raph Girard, former government colleague. Do Olympians really want to be complicit with the Chinese regime and all its human rights abuses?:

The appointment of Catriona Le May Doan as head of our 2022 Olympic delegation would have been more than appropriate had there been a reason to send a team to China in the first place. How can we possibly be thinking of sending Canadians under our flag to a country that is holding two of our citizens hostage; that has threatened Canadians in Hong Kong; and that continues to use trade as a weapon against us?

China’s repression of the Uighurs and the democratic movement in Hong Kong  should be sufficient for fair-minded countries to withdraw, as Canada did from the Moscow Games in 1980. China is a  pariah state. Let us show some backbone and demonstrate we will not be bullied by letting it know right now that there will be no Canadian team to harass in Beijing in 2022.

Raphael Girard, Ottawa


John Ivison: Boycott of Beijing Olympics is no substitute for a proper foreign policyClose sticky video

While the government is pondering over a new approach to dealing with China, the Conservative Party is urging the Liberals to consider a boycott of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.

The idea was raised on social media by Canada’s former senior public servant, Michael Wernick. “Perhaps it is time to start preparing the Canadian public for a boycott of the 2022 Winter Olympics in China,” he said.

Michael Chong, the Conservative foreign affairs critic, agrees.

“China is threatening our citizens and undermining our rights and freedoms with its covert operations in Canada. Everything should be under consideration to defend Canada and Canadians – including a boycott of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics,” he said in an email.

Chong pointed out that it is an option where this country has some leverage. “Canada is a winter sports powerhouse. No Winter Olympics could be a success without Canada’s participation,” he said.

The idea received a tepid response from the government.

The department of Canadian Heritage professed impotence when it came to the question of a boycott. “The decision on whether or not to participate in the Olympic and Paralympic games lies with the Canadian Olympic and Paralympic Committee, as they operate independently of the government,” it said in a statement.

A boycott has pros and cons – it would send a clear message to Beijing that Canadians are incensed at their fellow citizens being jailed arbitrarily (Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig are approaching two years in detention), while the Communist Party engages in intimidation and influence-peddling on Canadian soil.

On the other hand, it is unlikely to succeed in securing the release of the two Michaels.

The games were designed to lower international tensions and this would exacerbate them. A boycott would be a symbolic gesture unlikely to shift Chinese foreign policy, while the real victims would be the athletes.

Wernick said he is not sure it is a good idea, especially if Canada was on its own. “Did boycotting Moscow in 1980 make a difference?” he asked.

At the end of the day, a boycott is no substitute for a proper foreign policy, which is something Canada lacks when it comes to China.


Burton: Canada should manage our China policy more honestly

With Global Affairs Minister François-Philippe Champagne scheduled to give evidence Monday to the House of Commons Special Committee on Canada-China relations, expect a lot of hemming and hawing over why he voted against an Opposition motion for Canada to announce a decision on Huawei 5G before Christmas.

He’ll also have to explain why Canada has not undertaken effective measures to stop covert, coercive activities by Chinese agents who seek to influence Canadian policymakers and intimidate human rights defenders in Canada’s Uighur and Tibetan communities, pro-democracy activists, campaigners for freedom in Hong Kong or practitioners of Falun Gong. Canada’s policy on this so far has been akin to the “ghosting” (that is, withdrawing without explanation) of a discarded romantic partner. Canada has broken off the 5G relationship with Huawei for very good national security reasons, but doesn’t want to incur Beijing’s wrath by telling them straight out.

The argument that “ghosting” might obtain the release of Michaels Kovrig and Spavor, or avoid further economic retaliation that punishes Canadian business and farmers, has proven wrong-headed. After 711 days, two exemplary Canadian citizens are still in prison hell in the People’s Republic of China, neither of them deserving such vulgar abuse as Beijing tries to force Canada to comply with China’s political demands. Beijing obviously does not reward passivity with gestures of goodwill, and if the federal government continues to give in to the PRC’s amoral “wolf warrior diplomacy,” expect China to be thus emboldened to demand that Canada offer successive concessions in years ahead.

In 2018, China declared itself a “near-Arctic state” and called for a “Polar Silk Road” to not only expedite shipping through our Arctic waters, but develop ports, infrastructure, military presence and extract resources in Canada’s North. The carrot for Canada would ostensibly be huge Chinese state investment and developmental benefits, but this is all simply part of Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s strategy to displace the United States as the world’s dominant political and economic power by 2050, which will be the 100th anniversary of China’s People’s Republic.

This is all consistent with the PRC’s strong insistence that Canada not only allow Huawei free rein over our telecommunications framework, but that Canada cease its “discriminatory” security review process over any PRC acquisitions of critical Canadian natural resources and infrastructure.

Where is Canada’s appeasement of China ultimately leading? If push came to shove, would we revisit the decision to keep Aecon Construction out of Chinese state control? China certainly sees precedent for this, as our current government in 2017 inexplicably reversed the Harper cabinet’s 2015 denial of Hong Kong O-Net’s application to take over ITF Technologies of Montreal, a leader in advanced fibre-laser technology with military applications. It was because CSIS reportedly had advised that O-Net is effectively controlled by the Chinese state that Canada passed up China’s generous monetary inducements to OK that acquisition, despite the lobbying of Canadians who would have benefitted richly from the sale.

Little wonder that Beijing clearly perceives that holding Kovrig and Spavor is working out well, keeping Canada from retaliating for China’s flouting of accepted norms of international diplomacy and trade. It’s time Canada did the right things: ceasing to turn a blind eye to China’s money diplomacy meant to influence Canadian policymakers; adopting zero tolerance of Chinese state harassment of people in Canada; sanctioning Chinese officials who have wealth invested here and are complicit in the Uighur genocide; offering safe harbour to all Hong Kongers at risk of arrest under the PRC’s draconian National Security Law; and stringently inspecting all Chinese shipments into Canada to stem the flow of fentanyl.

As for Huawei, we really need to make a clear and principled statement. In doing so, China will have no reason to further poison its relationship with Canada by keeping Kovrig and Spavor so brutally incarcerated.

Ghosting has not worked in this relationship. It is time to make clear our Canadian intentions.

Charles Burton is a senior fellow at the Macdonald-Laurier Institute in Ottawa, and non-resident senior fellow of the European Values Center for Security Policy in Prague. He is a former professor of political science at Brock University, and served as a diplomat at Canada’s Embassy in Beijing. Source: Burton: Canada should manage our China policy more honestly


Canada better fits the definition of a state committing genocide than Xinjiang region, China says

Cultural genocide with respect to Indigenous peoples, but acknowledge, recognition and efforts to address past and present injustice. None of which is happening in China. And legitimate to call for boycott of 2020 Winter Olympics in China:

The Chinese government says Canada better fits the definition of a state committing genocide than the Xinjiang region, pointing to population growth rates – some inaccurate – that it says demonstrate it has not mistreated its Uyghur population.

China’s foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian also scoffed at the “ignorance” of Bob Rae, the Canadian ambassador to the United Nations, who on Sunday said “there’s no question that there’s aspects of what the Chinese are doing” in Xinjiang that “fits into the definition of genocide in the Genocide Convention.”

Mr. Rae’s comments mark the latest escalation from the Canadian government in its condemnation of Chinese policies in Xinjiang, where women have been sterilized, large numbers of people have been forced into political indoctrination camps and mosques have been demolished. Mr. Rae made the comments to the CBC, saying he has called for the United Nations Human Rights Council to mount a genocide investigation in Xinjiang.

On Monday, Mr. Zhao mocked Mr. Rae for his “ridiculous” remarks, pointing to demographic statistics as evidence. In Xinjiang the Uyghur population has increased by 25 per cent between 2010 and 2018, he said, a rate he called “18 times the rate of Canada.” That would suggest that “it is the Canadian people, rather than the Uyghurs, who are being persecuted,” he said, adding: “The ambassador should have done his homework beforehand to avoid making a fool of himself.”

Mr. Zhao, however, cited inaccurate figures. Canada’s population grew by more than 10 per cent between 2010 and 2018, according to Statistics Canada.

And Mr. Zhao did nothing to refute the dramatic changes in Hotan and Kashgar, Uyghur-dominated areas of Xinjiang where birth rates fell more than 60 per cent between 2015 and 2018, the Associated Press has reported. The Xinjiang Health Commission has in public documents called for population growth rates in some areas with large Uyghur communities to be brought considerably below 2016 levels, according to research by Adrian Zenz, a U.S.-based scholar and senior fellow in China studies at the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation.

“In Guma [Pishan] County, the 2019 family planning budget plan specifically called for 8,064 female sterilizations,” Mr. Zenz wrote in a report this summer.

The United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide defines genocide as acts that include “imposing measures intended to prevent births within [a] group,” as well as “causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of [a] group.”

Some ethnic Muslims in Xinjiang who went through centres for political indoctrination and skills training have described conditions so oppressive they attempted to kill themselves.

But few have been willing to accuse China of genocide. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said China’s actions in Xinjiang “remind us of what happened in the 1930s in Germany,” while a resolution in the U.S. Senate has said China’s campaign “against Uighurs, ethnic Kazakhs, Kyrgyz and members of other Muslim minority groups … constitutes genocide.”

Chinese authorities have said they have protected human rights in Xinjiang by creating stability and helping to grow the economy. The Chinese government has defended its use of forcible political indoctrination as a necessary redress for radical thought. More recently, it has said that “students” in indoctrination centres have all “graduated.”

The Chinese government has said publicly that it has invited a European Union delegation to see the “real situation” in Xinjiang. That visit has not taken place because the two sides have yet to agree on terms.

Other governments, including in Australia, have declined to use the term “genocide,” saying such a determination is for courts to make.

Scholars, however, argue that the key question is not evidence but national will.

“There is a plethora of evidence in this case, but I think the larger problem will be the political capacity of international institutions to challenge a state as powerful” as China, said Sean Roberts, an international affairs specialist at George Washington University who is the author of The War on the Uyghurs: China’s Internal Campaign against a Muslim Minority.

For Ottawa to lend its voice is important, he said. But it “will take a broad coalition of different states to change Beijing’s behaviour. If this is followed by others, it will indeed be significant, especially if those other states extend beyond the US, EU, and the British commonwealth.”

National leaders should also consider steps outside a genocide case, said Timothy Grose, a scholar who specializes in Xinjiang and Chinese ethnic policy at the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology.

That could include “a broad boycott of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics,” he said.

“”It is now up to world leaders and global corporations to persuade China to halt its state-violence against Uyghurs,” he said.

“A boycott would devastate revenue for the host city Beijing and the negative journalistic attention a boycott would attract – that would occur on a global scale – would almost certainly force leaders’ hands.”

Source: Canada better fits the definition of a state committing genocide than Xinjiang region, China says