Canada’s China policy in 2020 – continue to kowtow

by Terry Glavin

Beijing has got us right where it wants us. Cowering agreeably, gibbering pathetically, bowing and scraping.

It was a surrender of bedrock rule-of-law principles so craven, and such a sabotage of the government he was sworn to represent, that for publicly advocating it as “great for Canada” last January, the notoriously Beijing-compliant John McCallum had to be stripped of his diplomatic credentials as ambassador to China.

But that was then. Now, it would seem, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has taken it on as his own great idea. Put another way, if you thought that after everything that has happened, Canada’s China policy had been finally expunged of the creepy influences exerted by such disgraced Chrétien-era fixtures as McCallum, you thought wrong. It’s as if McCallum is back, and he’s now writing Trudeau’s scripts.

You would never know it from the headlines. “Canada to US: Don’t sign China deal until Canadians released.” “Trudeau says he asked U.S. to stall China trade deal until Canadians released.” “Trudeau asks U.S to not sign China trade deal until Spavor, Kovrig are released.” And on and on.

It’s as if John McCallum is back, and he’s now writing Trudeau’s scripts.

But that’s not what Trudeau actually said, which was buried in most accounts of his cheery banter with the peppy hosts of the morning show Salut Bonjour on Quebec’s TVA network, in French, just before he jetted off to Costa Rica for the holidays. It was this: “We’ve said that the United States should not sign a final and complete agreement with China that does not settle the question of Meng Wanzhou and the two Canadians.”

That’s not just a pathetic Hail Mary effort to persuade Donald Trump’s White House to stall a “trade war” armistice to correct a half-a-trillion-dollar imbalance with China on behalf of diplomat-on-leave Michael Kovrig and entrepreneur Michael Spavor – the two Canadians nabbed in a hostage-diplomacy kidnapping and imprisonment only days after Meng, chief financial officer for Beijing’s “national champion” telecom giant, was apprehended on a U.S. Justice Department warrant in Vancouver. Nor is it just a suggestion that Trump somehow cut Meng Wanzhou some undeserved slack, for no benefit to the United States.

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