McCallum is enlisting China’s aid in re-electing the Liberals — and coaching them how to do it
Whose interests was he taking it upon himself to defend? The Liberal Party’s, certainly. China’s apparently. It’s just not clear where Canada’s interests fit in
Is it possible to reappoint John McCallum as ambassador to China just so he can be fired again?
The politician turned diplomat turned neither, whose unfiltered musings on Sino-Canadian relations were his undoing earlier this year, has done it again. In a jaw-dropping interview with the South China Morning Post, McCallum volunteers that he has been warning his contacts in the Chinese foreign ministry to avoid further “punishments” to Canadian exports, in the escalating conflict over Canada’s arrest and possible extradition of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou to the United States.
He has been issuing these warnings, because … why? Because China has no valid reason to block our exports? Because it has no legitimate grounds to object to Meng’s arrest, which was entirely lawful, undertaken by independent law enforcement officials, reviewed by impartial courts and in accordance with Canada’s bilateral treaty obligations?
Because China’s kidnapping of two Canadians in response, Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig, whom it has been holding hostage the past seven months, was none of these things, an intolerable affront to international law, not to say human decency?
No, because it “will help the Conservatives,” who “are much less friendly to China than the Liberals.” Rather than anything “more negative against Canada,” he suggests, “it would be nice if things will get better between now and the election.”
Besides, “Canada is in China for the long run… This problem will pass.”
In case anything was lost in the translation: the former ambassador to China for Canada has not only been, by his own admission, enlisting China’s aid in re-electing the Liberals — inviting the leadership of a hostile foreign power, if not to intervene in the next election on their behalf, then to refrain from acting in a way that would help their opponents — but coaching them how to do it.
Among the many, many questions raised by the former ambassador’s new gig as a freelance political consultant: whose interests was he taking it upon himself to defend? The Liberal Party’s, certainly. China’s apparently. It’s just not clear where Canada’s interests fit into his thinking — except, of course, so far as the interests of the Liberal Party are assumed to be synonymous with Canada’s.
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