Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer has accused the Liberals of trying to seek help from China to win federal election.
“I forcefully and unequivocally condemn recent comments by high-profile Liberals encouraging the Chinese government to help re-elect the government this October. This invitation of foreign interference in the Canadian election — to a regime that has proven itself hostile to Canadian interests — is absolutely reprehensible,” Scheer said in a statement after former Liberal cabinet minister and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s former Ambassador to China John McCallum’s comments.
In an interview to the South China Morning Post, McCallum said he had warned former contacts at China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs that any further “punishments” imposed on Canada’s exports could lead to a change of government that is unfavourable to Beijing. “Anything that is more negative against Canada will help the Conservatives, [who] are much less friendly to China than the Liberals,” he said. “I hope and I don’t see any reason why things will get worse. It would be nice if things will get better between now and election.”
After Huawei’s chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou’s arrest on US fraud charges in Vancouver last December, China detained two Canadians on suspicion of espionage and later imposed restrictions on import of several items from Canada.
McCallum, a longtime Liberal, was fired in January after he told Chinese-language journalists in Toronto that he thought Meng had good arguments to fight her extradition to the U.S. In his interview to the South China Morning Post, McCallum reiterated his point of view that Canada had no ground to extradite Meng. “It is quite possible the judge will release her,” he said in the interview.
“I also find it appalling that Liberals are attempting to win favour with a communist government that is illegally detaining two Canadian citizens and blocking Canadian agricultural imports. Instead of scheming with the Government of China to win re-election, Liberals should advocate for the safe return of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor and the restoration of Canadian canola and meat imports to China,” Scheer said.
“However, this latest episode is not particularly surprising considering Trudeau’s admiration for the Chinese communist regime – or China’s ‘basic dictatorship,’ as he once put it. As Prime Minister, he has continually failed to stand up for Canadian interests and has instead chosen to appease the Government of China at every turn. This approach has failed,” Scheer said referring to Trudeau’s remark at an event in 2013.
“There’s a level of admiration I actually have for China, because their basic dictatorship is allowing them to actually turn their economy around on a dime and say, ‘We need to go green … we need to start investing in solar,” Trudeau had said.
“A new Conservative government will always stand up for Canada’s interests on the world stage and will not allow any country that wishes us harm to push us around,” Scheer said.