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View Jack Harris Profile
NDP (NL)
This was something unexpected. I think we're being overly prescriptive here. The idea was that we were endorsing the notion of re-engagement of the Sino-Tibetan dialogue in general terms. Wouldn't it be better here to not get too detailed and in fact just talk about representatives of the Tibetan people and the government of the People's Republic of China?
I would prefer that, because we're getting a bit specific. We're kind of unprepared for this detail, given the fact that we've had only one witness and the debate we had the other day was partly about this issue and the fact that we're happy to endorse the dialogue between the Tibetan people and the People's Republic. By getting very specific, I think we may be going beyond what we have evidence for. I'm inclined to keep it general and not go into this kind of detail.
View Jack Harris Profile
NDP (NL)
Thank you, Chair.
I listened to what Mr. Oliphant and Mr. Virani said, and I think that is correct.
Given the difficulties we're having—I want to echo what Mr. Bergeron just said—the exact wording is not clear because it's not before us.
I heard Mr. Virani use the words “and/or” to allow the greatest possibility, but I'm not sure that's what is in the motion itself. There are envoys, the CTA or the Dalai Lama. Is that the...? Any combination of those is part of the motion. Is the wording accurate for that? That's the question.
View Jack Harris Profile
NDP (NL)
We've had no debate on that motion as amended, either.
View Jack Harris Profile
NDP (NL)
Thank you, Chair.
I'll be brief because I did express my support for this motion the last time it was raised, with the concern that we hadn't heard from other witnesses on the question of Tibet and that we ought not to be setting a precedent of dealing with questions in a piecemeal way. Therefore, I have my own motion put forward, and I understand there's a consensus on that among committee members, but we'll see.
It's important that we continue with our full study, but this is an important issue for the Tibetan community and the Tibetan people, and I think the fact of the matter is that it's before our committee now, even though somewhat irregularly, and I think we should pass it and give it our full endorsement.
Thank you.
View Jack Harris Profile
NDP (NL)
Thank you, Chair.
I want to speak in support of this motion for none of the reasons that Ms. Alleslev just referred to. In fact, if that were the reason, I wouldn't support it. The government is the government until it isn't.
The reason I'm supporting this, contrary to our normal role of “wait until we get it all, and let's talk about the relationship between Canada and China”, is that there is a sense of urgency to some of the measures that are being proposed, particularly those that would offer assistance to people who are now affected by these changes in the relationship with Hong Kong and between Hong Kong and Beijing. That's the reason for the urgency, in my view.
We should put what we have on the table so that the government can act, and we can try to influence the course of the government's activities while it is the government. That could be for longer than people think or it could be for shorter than people think, but that has nothing to do with my support for this motion. I think we should do it because it is important, but it is an exception to the overall thrust of having a report at the end, which we are all endeavouring to do. This is an exception as a result of the urgency of the matters before us.
View Jack Harris Profile
NDP (NL)
I want to emphasize that I consider this an interim report as well, although it's not called that, and it should not preclude us from referencing the situation in Hong Kong in our overall report at the end. We should probably make sure that, in whatever report we do prepare, it's directed at basically the here-and-now situation.
View Jack Harris Profile
NDP (NL)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I don't think this will take long. I would like to move the following:
That the committee invite officials from Global Affairs Canada to provide a briefing on the situation in Tibet and Canada’s relationship at the earliest opportunity as part of its ongoing study on Canada’s relationship with China.
I'll speak to it briefly, if you wish.
View Jack Harris Profile
NDP (NL)
This has been discussed with the vice-chairs. I believe there will be support for this. It's part of my understanding, and part of my support for the earlier motion, that we would insist and ensure that we hear more about China, in particular from officials as to the history. We got some of it from Mr. Virani today, but I would like to hear the officials give us the story about the relationship and whatever other evidence. I think a good place to start would be with the officials and at the earliest opportunity that presents itself.
Thank you.
View Jack Harris Profile
NDP (NL)
I think this motion doesn't preclude any other witnesses from being called, but I don't know if we want to go into amending the motion at this point. I think this is something that would likely be referred to the subcommittee, and the subcommittee can give consideration to it. I prefer to do it just as is, but I'm not opposed to other witnesses being called.
View Jack Harris Profile
NDP (NL)
Thank you, Chair, and thank you to our witnesses for their presentations.
Dr. Medeiros, I'm interested in your comments on this matter.
You talked about American foreign policy, and I have before me an article from over the weekend talking about Secretary of State Pompeo's speech in the Czech Republic last week. In his remarks, in the same speech, he said, “What’s happening now isn’t Cold War 2.0.” He talked about the challenge of resisting the CCP threat as being in some ways much more difficult; saying that the CCP is “enmeshed in our economies, in our politics, in our societies in ways the Soviet Union never was”, and made other references. All the references, apparently, to China were not to the People's Republic of China or to the government but to the Communist Party.
The language in his speech about it not being a cold war seems to me rather ideological in nature and not diplomatic in terms of a strategic action by a state vis-à-vis another state. Is that language helpful, or are we really talking about an ideological battle with the Communist Party, as opposed to dealing with authoritarianism or anti-democratic activity, etc.? Could you comment on that, please?
View Jack Harris Profile
NDP (NL)
I was concerned, Chair, about whether such characterizations and cold war references are actually helpful in building coalitions.
Professor Ong, you referred to the Chinese Communist Party in terms of the strategic interests of its leadership and the elite and how that would affect the kinds of actions that are being taken, which I see as a different thing.
You have said in the past, in talking about working together with other countries, that the United States and Canada have different interests, or that they do not always have the same interests, and that we need to chart an independent course of foreign policy with China. We have shared interests, but there are areas where policies should diverge, particularly given that Canada is a lesser power. I wonder if you could elaborate on that a little bit and perhaps describe some of those differences.
View Jack Harris Profile
NDP (NL)
Thank you.
View John Williamson Profile
CPC (NB)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Thank you very much to our witnesses. You've presented a number of excellent points today, and some good recommendations.
Professor Ong, I'm curious to get to some more of your thinking. You seem to be at least partially hopeful that there is an ability to reverse the takeover we're now seeing in Hong Kong. You said that it will take time, but you seem to hold out that hope. Could you address that briefly?
If that's the case, should we view Hong Kong not so much by going back to the Cold War but as a Poland, going forward, with that resilience we all know is alive in Hong Kong in the people? Could you comment on your reasons for hope?
View John Williamson Profile
CPC (NB)
Yes, I think that's a good point.
I'm going to turn now to Professor Medeiros.
I take your point that what we're seeing in Hong Kong is not a prelude to war and that we have to be careful. Not only does Canada have about 300,000 citizens in the territory, but there are millions of like-minded friends in Hong Kong, literally millions. I think the talk of a cold war is overstated because of, as Mr. Cheung just said, the ethnonationalism we see on display in China.
I'd like your thoughts. Should we think of what we're seeing in Asia now as more akin to what we saw with respect to Imperial Japan: a nationalist population and government, an expansionary state and a military regime that does not have civilian oversight? If that's the case, should the attention now not turn completely to Taiwan? Taiwan is the nation island. China wants it, and it has long made this clear. Do we not need to stick together on this, particularly with the Taiwan Defence Act in the United States? If this is not managed properly, unlike Hong Kong, this could lead to a real clash in the South China Sea.
Could I get your comments on that? You have just over a minute to respond.
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