So much for Trudeau's commitment to human rights

Ross Houston
February 26, 2021

"I will also support the Bloc amendment to call upon the International Olympic Committee to move the Olympics from China".

Speaking to reporters in Beijing today, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Webin accused Canada of "total disregard of facts and common sense" and gross interference in China's internal affairs.

The MPs warned in the report that "if the worldwide community does not condemn the human rights abuses in Xinjiang province by the Government of China, a precedent will be set, and these methods will be adopted by other regimes".

"This is key to enable an independent, impartial and transparent assessment of the grave concerns that the global community has", European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said while addressing the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

Prime Minister Justice Trudeau and most members of his cabinet abstained.

According to reports a year ago, up to 3 million Uighur Muslims in China's western Xinjiang province have been taken from their homes since 2017 by authorities and disappeared into a prison camp, which the Chinese government glosses over as a re-education facility.

Canada's House of Commons voted 266-0 for the motion brought by the opposition Conservative Party.

The United Nations has cited reports that at least one million Uighurs have been held in political re-education camps in Xinjiang, where the reported human rights abuses have been documented. It comes after a House of Commons subcommittee on worldwide human rights concluded in October the situation amounted to a genocide.

The motion also called for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics to be moved if the "genocide" continues. He said in a statement there should be a credible worldwide investigation in response to allegations of genocide.

"We have failed to predict genocide, we have failed to prevent genocide, we have failed to protect victims of genocide and we have failed to prosecute perpetrators of genocide", he said adding: "The genocide amendment is a modest attempt to begin to address some of those failings".

Meanwhile, Ruth Barnett and Dorit Oliver Wolff, both Holocaust survivors, have called on Prime Minister Boris Johnson to stand up against the alleged genocide in Xinjiang, writing: "Trade is not worth the price of a people".

In an interview on CTV News Channel's Power Play on Monday Liberal MP Ali Ehassi, who was absent for the vote, said the reports that have surfaced about the treatment of the Uighurs don't meet the definition of genocide.

Elsewhere on the Hill media circuit, Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet outlines his party's position on the government's proposed overhaul of Canada's official languages law during a mid-morning media availability with his party's language critic, Mario Beaulieu.

Trudeau has been reluctant to use the word genocide, suggesting that seeking broad consensus among Western allies on Chinese human rights issues would be the best approach.

"The Canada-China relationship is at a historical low right now", he said.

At the weekend, China's ambassador to Canada Cong Peiwu told the Canadian Press that the motion was "interfering in [China's] domestic affairs".

Saint-Jacques added that the Liberals have put themselves in a tricky situation now following the lead of the opposition on an engagement strategy with China. "I think the government first has to make use of the call tomorrow with President Biden and his team to see what can be done to try and help us with the fate of the two Michaels", he said.

Ties soured in late 2018 over the arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou on a U.S. warrant, and China's detention of two Canadians - former diplomat Michael Kovrig and businessman Michael Spavor - in what Ottawa has called retaliation.

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