Mr. Speaker, I apologize for that breach.
The federal government has spent the last six years extolling and overstating the importance of China to our nation's well-being. It has wrongly promoted economic relations with this totalitarian regime as a key tenet of Canada's foreign policy. It called for a free trade agreement without answering how a free country like Canada can trade freely with a non-market economy like China.
The government tried to work with China on developing a vaccine, but instead, our health data was stolen and Canada lost months working to secure vaccines from reliable sources. As well, the Liberal government has largely been silent on Beijing's actions to crack down on democratic expressions beyond expressions of concerns and regret. This is the wrong approach. Communist China should be labelled a perpetrator of genocide and be viewed as an outcast state. As I said, it will not be easy.
We have more friends in mainland China than perhaps we realize. They are people who want the same freedoms that they see in Taiwan and, until recently, Hong Kong, before Beijing snuffed those freedoms out. Now more than ever, Canada needs a principled foreign policy that promotes freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law.
I must admit my hope is eternal. Some Liberals have stood up and said, “Enough.” This includes the Liberal member for Scarborough—Guildwood, the previous speaker. I applaud his courage. His long-standing position on these issues is well known. We can see today that more Liberal MPs realize they are on the wrong side of history. It is why we increasingly hear them say, as a way to excuse their past errors in judgment, that today's China is not the same as the China of two years ago. Of course, this is nonsense.
What has changed? Two years ago, the Liberal government was mugged by reality when two Canadians were illegally detained by China. Today's China is the same China that cracked down on students in Tiananmen Square 22 years ago. It is the same China that, after being admitted to the World Trade Organization, failed to adhere to its commitments to liberalize and open up. It is the same China that imprisons its citizens and denies them freedom of speech and press.
More recently, it is the China that has illegally expanded its territory throughout the South China Sea and claims much of that sea as its territory. Its pursuit of a predatory posture regarding our open economy is well known. It openly steals our technology and research, and let us not forget the hundreds of millions of Chinese citizens on the mainland who are denied the right to choose who will govern them.
As an aside, democracy is not alien to Chinese people. It is acted on and upheld by Taiwan, a small nation of 24 million people with democratic freedoms that mirror our own in Canada. I could go on about Beijing's recent belligerence, but I have made my points. To say that today's China is nothing like yesterday's China is to ignore its recent history under the Communists.
However, if my hon. Liberal colleagues believe today's China is acting in an uncivilized and unbecoming fashion, what are they prepared to do about it when we vote? I hope is not more nothing. I hope that on Monday they will vote on today's facts, which are that China is committing genocide against ethnic and religious minorities. They have said, “never again”, but we will see, and all Canadians will see, when that vote is called.