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Diane Francis: Trudeau's inability to stand against China is a stain on Canada

Financial Post logo Financial Post 2021-07-09 Diane Francis
Justin Trudeau wearing a suit and tie: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Coquitlam, British Columbia, on Thursday. © Provided by Financial Post Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Coquitlam, British Columbia, on Thursday.
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Last year, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government sent millions of dollars to the People’s Republic of China — in the form of contracts and foreign aid — despite the fact that Beijing has been holding two Canadians hostage for more than two years and has threatened Canadians living in Canada for opposing the regime’s mistreatment of the Uighur people and its takeover of Hong Kong.

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole recently released a compelling four-minute video on social media that should be required viewing by all Canadians. In it, O’Toole, a former military officer and corporate lawyer, details the mystery surrounding the two Chinese scientists who were fired from Winnipeg’s National Microbiology Laboratory and the lab’s connections to the Wuhan Institute of Virology, along with the Trudeau government’s attempts to hide the truth from Parliament.

“In 2019, members of the Chinese military were escorted out of Canada’s Level 4 laboratory,” he said. “This is a story about some of the world’s most dangerous pathogens. This is a story about espionage. And this is a story about the Trudeau government being totally disconnected about the risks in the modern security environment. What went wrong in the Winnipeg lab?”

What’s known is that a husband and wife team with deep ties to China and the Chinese military were employed by the Canadian lab and were able to bring in Chinese students and collaborate with other Chinese scientists, before they were removed, investigated and then fired two years later. During their tenure, they visited the Wuhan lab many times and sent dangerous samples there.

“Who authorized the transfers of dangerous, deadly viruses” asks O’Toole. “Who authorized this high level of co-operation and collaboration with the Chinese military? CSIS told Mr. Trudeau not to do it. He was advised that this type of partnership, because of the risk of bio-weapons research, should not be taking place.”

The government ignored the warnings and this has harmed Canada’s relationship with its allies in the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing alliance and NATO, including with our most important ally and largest trading partner, the United States.

“The Trudeau government is doing anything it can to cover this up. They’re in contempt of Parliament. An order of Parliament, for the first time, is completely disregarded by Justin Trudeau and, in the process, hiding the truth from Canadians about what partnership was being done in the Winnipeg lab by scientists with deep connections to the Chinese military,” O’Toole said.

Canadians deserve answers to other issues, as well. Why, for example, did Trudeau appoint Dominic Barton to be Canada’s ambassador to China, knowing full well that the firm McKinsey & Company, where Barton spent nearly a decade acting as managing director, had extensive economic interests in the country? Why did the Trudeau government give away intellectual property to a Chinese vaccine maker and not pursue remediation after it reneged on the deal? And why is Canada the only Five Eyes member that hasn’t officially banned Huawei from its 5G network?

O’Toole is right: Canada’s global reputation has been badly damaged by Trudeau’s inappropriate kid-glove treatment of China. And so has Canada’s democracy.

Financial Post

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