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View Geoff Regan Profile
Lib. (NS)
We will go to the vote.
(Motion agreed to)
The Chair: Thank you very much.
Now we'll proceed to the witnesses.
We have today, as an individual, Mr. Howard Balloch, former Canadian ambassador to the People's Republic of China.
We also welcome Mr. Guy Saint-Jacques, former Canadian ambassador to the People's Republic of China.
Mr. Balloch, would you like to begin, please? You have 10 minutes.
Howard Balloch
View Howard Balloch Profile
Howard Balloch
2020-03-09 10:00
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
It's an honour to appear before this committee today.
In listening to some of the deliberations of this committee and the witnesses from whom you have already heard, I note three occasionally recurrent and, in my view, fallacious premises.
First is the premise that China is a frozen-in-time singularity, a monolithic, ideologically driven, unchanging country.
Second is the premise that the policy of broad and fulsome engagement has failed and that it was principally and naively aimed at changing China internally.
Third is the premise that there is out there somewhere, simply waiting to be formulated, a comprehensive and coherent new “China policy” to serve as a course correction for all of Canada's involvement with this huge and enormously complex China.
Before I say a little about each of these, here is a word on the historical context. When Xi Jinping came to power, there was initially no indication that he would divert China from its 35-year-long road of domestic reform and international co-operation and convergence. But in spite of early reformist indications, in 2014 he launched a comprehensive counter-reform agenda.
He announced the “made in China 2025” program to indigenize and dominate key economic sectors. He reversed SOE reform, halted social and legal reform, suppressed freedom of expression and religious tolerance, especially in Muslim areas, reinforced the great Chinese firewall and greatly expanded state control of the media and the Internet. The aims were clear: to reverse the decline of the party and the state, restore national ideological purity, overcome China's technological subservience to the west and reassert China's role on the global stage.
In addressing the first of the three premises, I would remind that China today is not the China of 1959 or 1966, nor is Xi Jinping Stalin or Kim Jong-un. There is no doubt that he has centralized power to an extent not known since Mao Zedong, and that the Communist Party and the Chinese state speak with a single aggressive voice, accompanied by actions that sometimes border on the brutish, as Canada has regrettably learned.
Yet Xi Jinping and the party leadership know that to govern, they need the support of both the population and a broad range of elites. While the state speaks internationally with a single and unyielding voice, there is a broader array of views and voices among the Chinese elites whose support is necessary to Xi's rule. I personally hear unhappiness among both reformist state and private sector business leaders, and we all hear of push-back in academic circles and among young stars of film and television, and Internet influencers. Throughout all these communities, as well as in think tanks and in progressive internationalist corners of the state bureaucracy, there are many who regret the growing anti-China sentiment abroad and who dislike watching their country leaving the gradualist paths of increased institutionalization of the rule of law and a co-operative foreign policy.
The lack of democratic elections in China does not mean that effective feedback loops do not exist. If I have learned anything about China during some 45 years of observation and 20 years of living there, it's that China is in constant evolution. Whenever I have assumed stasis for the status quo or that voices calling for change have been permanently sidelined, I have inevitably been proven wrong.
As to the second premise, I would like to dispute that the general policy of engagement with China has failed. Indeed, the widespread and more or less continuous Canadian consensus around a robust engagement with China has brought economic benefits across the breadth and depth of Canada, but it has also helped China improve its food security, become more effective in the fight against international crime, and engage co-operatively on environmental matters and in global efforts to deal with climate change.
It has unquestionably led to a generally co-operative China in multinational institutions, more rules-based behaviour in international trade and economic matters, better respect—not perfect, but better—for intellectual property, and a practice of accepting the rulings of the WTO, unlike the case with some other countries.
It has also resulted in Canadians from a vast array of professions, pursuits and backgrounds building wide-ranging relationships with Chinese counterparts, giving us a collective understanding of, and influence in, government circles and with the leaders of business, academic, and artistic and sports communities. It has produced a very broadly supported positive image of Canada and Canadians among the general Chinese citizenry.
Engagement has always been principally aimed at serving Canadian interests, and only indirectly at encouraging systemic internal change in China. Engagement does not mean making friction-free or good relations the priority. It means playing with a full team of talented players, not playing with an empty net.
We can and do welcome Chinese investment, making sure that the rules we establish for corporate behaviour are strictly followed. When matters of national security are at stake, we can and should use our formidable capabilities and intelligence to determine ourselves whether and how the activities of Chinese companies should be fenced off and limited.
We can and must play defence when required, making clear that there are lines that should not be crossed, lines that need to be defended when Canadians are mistreated in China, when we see misbehaviour on Canadian campuses, when we find interference and even extortion in the Canadian-Chinese communities, or when there is abuse of our unreciprocated press and media openness.
In spite of those who argue for a shift to some sort of containment policy—perhaps encouraged by our friends to the south, who seem genetically programmed to divide the world between friends and enemies—choosing not to engage with China is not a rational option. As it is increasingly internationalist, one of the world's two largest economies, China impacts our interests everywhere: in global capital flows, international financial stability, critical supply chains, and globalizing epidemics. In all matters impacting the earth's commons, from climate change to illegal drug trades and international financial crime, China is and will remain an essential world player.
That Canadians in every walk of life have developed relationships of exchange, trust and influence with Chinese counterparts, who in turn can influence their country's behaviour in their respective areas, is vital to the promotion and protection of real and long-term Canadian interests.
Finally, the fallacy of the third premise is evident from that of the first two. The promotion and protection of Canadian interests and values, which is what foreign policy is, cannot be reduced to a simplistic China policy, as some have suggested. If I were to propose that we should have a new United States policy, you would dismiss me as a simpleton. Canadian interests in and relationships with our neighbour to the south are far too deep and varied to be corralled into a simplistic framework. We have learned that not only does our government need to pursue a close and influential relationship with the administration in Washington but also our country needs to have a vast network of other relationships with congressional, regional, municipal, business, academic and other American leaders. We do not allow the pursuit and protection of our interests in the United States to be derailed by a change in national government, by an unwanted departure from past policies or commitments, or by the particular if not peculiar pronouncements of a leader we have no influence in choosing.
We know that turning our backs on the positive and potential in our transborder relationship is not an option. When challenged, we gear up, not down. We would do well to approach China in the same way.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Guy Saint-Jacques
View Guy Saint-Jacques Profile
Guy Saint-Jacques
2020-03-09 10:09
Thank you for the invitation, Mr. Chair.
Good morning, ladies and gentlemen.
I am a career diplomat, having spent 39 years with Global Affairs Canada, including 13 years in China: 2 years in Hong Kong and 11 years in Beijing. I was an ambassador for the last four years of that period, from 2012 to 2016.
Today, I would like to discuss three topics: the state of bilateral relations, China under Xi Jinping and, finally, the adjustments required, in my view, to Canada's engagement strategy with China.
Before we get started, let me give you some of my main messages. This committee provides an opportunity not only to take stock of the bilateral relationship, but also to adjust Canada's engagement strategy towards China.
It has become very difficult to remain ambivalent on China after having been victims of their brutal retaliatory measures following the arrest of Mrs. Meng Wanzhou and also knowing how they interfere in Hong Kong and the treatment given to Uighurs and other Muslim minorities in Xinjiang.
Colin Robertson pointed out the following in the Globe and Mail last July:
We need a realistic, not a romantic, China policy. It should start with the recognition that China is an authoritarian state, a strategic competitor and systemic rival. It will never follow Western democratic norms because that would destabilize the Communist Party—the root and base of the People’s Republic of China.
As a result, we have to review our engagement strategy with China and base our approach on the protection of our values and on reciprocity. It also means diversifying our trade to other countries in Asia. As well, we need to work with partners to reinforce the multilateral system. Domestically, we need to react strongly to any interference attempt by the Chinese Communist Party or the Chinese government. Similar to Australia, we need to adopt laws to prevent such interference. Finally, we need to continue to develop our competencies to better understand China, as it is not going away.
Let me turn to bilateral relations. As you know, all official dialogue is suspended. There are very few and limited official contacts. Fifteen months into the crisis, what has been the impact of the strategy pursued by the Canadian government so far? While Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor have finally had access to a lawyer, there is some uncertainty as to where the legal process stands for them. Their trial could be announced any day. If so, it will take 18 to 24 months before they are sentenced. Once the process starts, it will become a lot more difficult to get them out. I lived through that with Kevin and Julia Garratt. Plus, we have no word from the Chinese supreme court on the appeal of Robert Schellenberg's death sentence. China has warned us that there will be no improvement in the relationship until Mrs. Meng Wanzhou is freed. Unless the judge decides in June that Meng’s rights were not respected when she was arrested, and she is then released, her extradition process will drag on for years.
On the trade front, our exports last year to China dropped 16%, or $4.5 billion, and will likely drop further this year because of the impact of COVID-19 and the trade deal between China and the U.S.A. Plus, we could be subject to further measures if the government decides that Huawei will not participate in 5G development in Canada. In summary, we have to brace ourselves for years of difficult relations.
Howard spoke about China under Xi Jinping. I will summarize my comments here, because I agree with all he said on Xi Jinping. This crisis shows the challenges of dealing with a superpower that ignores international rules when they are not to its liking and does not hesitate to severely punish countries that refuse to obey its diktats. While Canada is not the first country to be at the receiving end of China’s displeasure, it is the first time where a country has rallied support from allies. In fact, this also illustrates how China has become a lot more assertive, aggressive and, I would say, arrogant since Xi Jinping took control of the Communist Party in November 2012. Of course, the ongoing crisis related to COVID-19 is having a very severe impact on the Chinese economy. It comes after a difficult 2019 for Xi Jinping, with the situation in Hong Kong not resolved, electoral results not to his liking in Taiwan, the trade war with the U.S., which has slowed down the Chinese economy, and the African swine flu epidemic.
It also makes it almost impossible to meet two of his goals—namely, eliminating poverty this year and China becoming a comprehensively well-off society. For that, he needs growth of at least 5.6%, and I think it's likely to be around 4% to 5%. While there is a lot of popular discontent, I don't think the Xi leadership is under threat.
This leads me to my third point and the key question for Canada and other western countries: Is it possible to have normal relations with China? I would argue that despite the ongoing problems that could mar the relationship for years, we have to look at where we want to be 10 years from now. Despite the slowdown of its economy, and especially the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, China can continue to grow at 4% to 6% for many years. I base this on its urbanization rate, which is still low at about 59%, and its plan to move to an economy where growth will be based on consumption and services. Of course, debt has to be watched. It stands now at about 300% of GDP. All of this is to say that China will remain an important market for Canadian exporters.
In my view, there are a number of measures the government could take, both bilaterally and multilaterally. On the bilateral side, as a starting point we should define our fundamental values and interests. Therefore, there should be no tolerance for freelancing by Chinese investigators in Canada to repatriate economic fugitives and no tolerance for interference in Canadian politics, on Canadian campuses, and in the Canadian Chinese community. As I mentioned earlier, I encourage you to look at the four laws adopted by Australia to prevent interference in its internal affairs. There should be no tolerance for spying by the Chinese government or the People's Liberation Army to gain a commercial advantage. In fact, we should expel Chinese spies when they are discovered, or charge perpetrators of espionage.
As well, I think we should announce that we will no longer pursue a free trade agreement with China. We should launch a special review of an ongoing collaboration on artificial intelligence. This would be to try to ensure that Canadian technology is not used to put in place the social credit system in China. Also, we should look at the bilateral investment treaty to see if changes are required. We should conduct more rigorous and sustained inspections of Chinese products to ensure they satisfy our safety standards. We should announce that we will redeploy trade commissioners to other countries in Asia and take advantage of free trade agreements while looking at ways to better support companies in China. In my view, we should apply reciprocity in terms of Chinese government access in Ottawa to make it similar to what Ambassador Barton has in Beijing. What I have in mind is that no federal minister should accept an invitation to lunch or dinner at the Chinese embassy.
As Howard said, we have to continue to work with China on global issues, such as climate change—months ago, in fact, I was thinking about pandemics, and now we are in the middle of one—economic issues and nuclear proliferation. There are many areas in which Canada can offer a lot to China.
Huawei has been discussed a lot. I worked on this issue when I was ambassador. I think we should open the 5G process to all public companies and adopt a position similar to that of the United Kingdom. So far, the approach pursued by CSE, whereby all equipment is tested before being deployed in Canada, has worked. Again, the government, and business for that matter, will have to increase their capacity to understand China better and to ensure a well-informed and more sophisticated approach to China.
On the multilateral front, clearly Canada is not in a position to criticize China much by itself on its trade practices or human rights. We must recognize that our capacity to influence is very limited. As China is concerned about its international reputation, we should continue to seek support from allies, including in Asia from Japan, South Korea, Vietnam and Singapore, to démarche the Chinese government to release our prisoners, but we should also think about developing a strategy to join efforts on issues of common concern in order to prevent China from punishing another country that does something that displeases it. We should also make joint démarches in Beijing on the situation in Xinjiang or human rights abuses and call on China to respect its own constitution and improve the way it administers justice. This is also important to reassure foreign investors.
We should also look at ways to better support democracy in Hong Kong and Taiwan. We should work also with allies on common approaches to Chinese opposition of foreign technology and investment in general, on ensuring that China delivers on the promises it made when it joined the WTO, and on pushing for the respect of international norms, so as to ensure that the multilateral system works and is not undermined, and that obligations apply to all.
In conclusion, as Kurt Campbell and Jake Sullivan pointed out in the September edition of Foreign Affairs:
The best defence of democracy is to stress the values that are essential to good governance, especially transparency and accountability, and to support civil society, independent media, and the free flow of information.
Thank you for your attention. I will be happy to answer your questions.
View Garnett Genuis Profile
CPC (AB)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I want to thank both of you, not only for your testimony today but for your service to Canada.
I want to start with Ambassador Saint-Jacques. Sir, you mentioned the Garratt case, which is, of course, of great interest to this committee. The Garratts were released, and of course, we're hoping for a similar outcome in the present cases. I wonder if you could share a little bit, briefly, about what led to success in the context of the Garratt case.
Guy Saint-Jacques
View Guy Saint-Jacques Profile
Guy Saint-Jacques
2020-03-09 10:21
Well, it started in a similar fashion, inasmuch as we had received a request from the U.S. to extradite Mr. Su Bin, who was a Chinese person living in Vancouver and who was wanted for spying activities. A week later, unfortunately, Kevin and Julia Garratt were arrested. We went through a very similar process whereby we couldn't have access to them during the interrogation phase. We knew that they were detained in a location near Dandong. Finally, after a lot of pressure we were able to have consular access, but they didn't have access to their lawyers.
What changed was that, contrary to the Chinese government's expectations, Mr. Su Bin made a deal with American authorities, agreed to a plea bargain, and therefore waived his rights and was extradited rapidly to the U.S. In the meantime, the legal process for Mr. Garratt started. In the Chinese system, once you are formally charged, you are found guilty 99.9% of the time, so it was just a matter of time.
This started back in August 2014. It was under the previous government. Despite all attempts by Minister Baird and by the Prime Minister—Mr. Harper also raised the issue of the Garratts with the Chinese leadership—and despite pleas by the then Governor General Mr. Johnston, there was no success. Finally, when Prime Minister Trudeau made his first visit to China at the end of August, we used this to negotiate a way out.
In fact, the Chinese government was angry every time a Canadian leader would raise high-profile consular cases in bilateral meetings, so they insisted on creating a new dialogue. We had a whole slew of dialogues. This one would be on national security, and they said it would be the one in which we could discuss high-profile consular cases. We said we would agree to the creation of this committee, provided it would be named the national security and rule of law dialogue.
They also wanted to discuss an extradition treaty. We kept telling them we were not going to negotiate an extradition treaty that would never be able to meet our standards, but I saw this as a good opportunity to discuss how law works in Canada. The first meeting of that committee took place in September 2016, two weeks after the visit of Mr. Trudeau. That's where we were able to negotiate.
The Chinese completed the trial. They sentenced Mr. Garratt and then agreed to expel him.
View Garnett Genuis Profile
CPC (AB)
Thank you.
Just to follow up on that, in Jonathan Manthorpe's famous book Claws of the Panda, he wrote this about this case, which is similar to what you said:
The price of Garratt’s release appears to have been an extradition treaty. Ottawa soon issued a communiqué: “The two sides determined that the short-term objectives for Canada-China co-operation on security and rule of law are to start discussions on an Extradition Treaty and a Transfer of Offenders Treaty as well as other related matters.”
You used the term “negotiate” the release. In August, Bill Morneau was in China, and it was at that time when he announced Canada's desire to enter the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. We have the implication in Mr. Manthorpe's book that there was a sort of quid pro quo around the beginning of those extradition discussions and the release of the Garratts. Is this what you mean by negotiation? Was there some kind of quid pro quo here?
Guy Saint-Jacques
View Guy Saint-Jacques Profile
Guy Saint-Jacques
2020-03-09 10:25
Well, with all due respect to Mr. Manthorpe, he is wrong on this, because I was closely involved in all of these discussions. Again, we were very clear with the Chinese. We agreed to discuss an extradition treaty, and again, it was in a way to try to make them improve the way they administer their own justice. We were telling them that the way the proof was put together would not stand the light of day in Canadian courts.
Therefore, this was totally separate from other issues. This was, of course, a very important issue for the Canadian government to get the release of Kevin Garratt. At that time, Mrs. Garratt herself had been released on bail, which I had to sign for. In my view, the decision on whether to join the Asian Investment Infrastructure Bank was totally separate. It—
View Garnett Genuis Profile
CPC (AB)
Can I just ask a quick question? It wasn't perceived as a quid pro quo in your mind. Is there a possibility that this was interpreted on the Chinese side as involving some kind of quid pro quo around some of these policy decisions that were taken at the same time, or in the same visits, that the Garratt issue was discussed?
Guy Saint-Jacques
View Guy Saint-Jacques Profile
Guy Saint-Jacques
2020-03-09 10:26
There was no quid pro quo, in my view. I think it was very clear. We had many discussions with the Chinese, and we always outlined the view of Canadians that they saw the arrest of Kevin and Julia Garratt as outrageous and that this had to be resolved before the relationship could move forward.
View Peter Fragiskatos Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
This is the third or fourth time my friend Mr. Genuis has brought up or referred to matters of extradition. I know we have witnesses here, and I certainly have questions for them, but I think it's important, for his knowledge and for the committee's knowledge, to put things into context. I was able to dig up some information—before I am perhaps accused of bias by my colleague, it comes from the National Post—that under the previous Conservative government, 330 individuals were returned to China from Canada.
To quote from the article, “Documents obtained with an access to information request show prime minister Stephen Harper told Chinese leadership in 2014 that he was eager to collaborate on the return of fugitives.” In fact, China's ambassador to Canada at the time, Luo Zhaohui, praised the Harper government for this policy. Since Mr. Genuis referred to the word “extradition”, and has brought it up here several times in the past, I think it's important for our committee and for the record to reflect the entire context.
I will turn to Mr. Balloch first and then to Mr. Saint-Jacques on the same question around first principles. Both of you have said that the relationship between Canada and China is critically important. I want to begin by looking at a very general question. What is it, in both of your minds, that Canada and Canadians do not know about China that they ought to know? It is a very general question, but I think it is, in many ways, “the” question. We know the United States. They're our lead trade partner. We've had ongoing relations with them for so long. It's true that we have had ongoing relations with China for so long, but I think there are huge misunderstandings between our two countries. What is it we ought to know about China that we don't?
Howard Balloch
View Howard Balloch Profile
Howard Balloch
2020-03-09 10:29
Mr. Chairman, can I take three and a half days to answer that question, please?
Voices: Oh, oh!
Mr. Howard Balloch: That's a very complicated question. Well, the question is not complicated—the answer is complicated.
China is a vast place. If you think of it historically, it has been more or less unified for a very long time, unlike Europe, but it is bigger than Europe, and it is culturally more diverse than it appears ethnically, so to understand.... There are a lot of Canadians who understand the China that they see. The China of the south, the China of the northeast and the China of the far west are all very different cultures, in spite of the fact that the Han ethnicity dominates the place so we tend to think of it as unified. It's less unified than we think.
In fact, the history of China has been a history of unification, and then, gradually, dynasties fall apart as regional interests overwhelm the central pull. That's one of the things that Xi Jinping fears. It's that the centre won't hold. It's why he pushed back hard against 30 years of change, which was leading to a weakening of the party's influence around the country. He pushed back to try to reverse that.
What is interesting about China is that it is changing. One of the great things that Mao Zedong did—there were many more things he did that were bad—was that he turned a more or less completely illiterate society into a literate society. We see the benefits of that today, when we see Chinese students in all our universities and all over the world. We see the young China becoming more and more worldly.
There's one thing that I would say Canadians should recognize. It's that China is in the midst of a very big transition, and it hasn't reached the end. We don't know what the end is going to be in terms of what happens when a highly literate and increasingly educated society becomes comfortable in their life and looks to expect other things, such as greater respect for the rule of law and seeing that their interests are responded to in some kind of political process. It will take time, but it will keep changing.
We saw the beginnings of that huge change between 1978 and 2014. That was almost continuous—not always at the same pace but almost continuous—and it's only in the last five years that we've seen this kind of counter-reform.
In terms of the changes that we were helping to make in those early days when I was ambassador, which is a long time ago now, at the time of the turn of the century, we helped to establish their National Judges College, where we taught the international principles of the rule of law, the right of legal counsel and all those things. Our Supreme Court justices, members of the Quebec court, which is particularly applicable because of the civil code, and other members of our judicial hierarchy came over to teach the Chinese, who wanted to learn.
One thing I would say is, don't assume China has stopped changing.
View Peter Fragiskatos Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you very much for that, Mr. Balloch.
I probably only have about 10 seconds, Mr. Saint-Jacques. Could you at some point in the hearing today expand on the argument you've brought up before? It is, and I'll quote you, “We also have to cultivate expertise on China in all areas of the public service to ensure a well-informed and more sophisticated China policy.”
If you could tell us how we can do that, it would be helpful.
View Stéphane Bergeron Profile
BQ (QC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Thank you, gentlemen, for joining us today. I thank you for your insights that are extremely relevant to the work of this committee, as well as for the work you've done in your respective careers.
You will certainly have an opportunity to follow up on my government colleague's question, but both of you have stressed the need for Canada to, first, not accept arrogant and unjustified, even illegal, behaviour from China, particularly towards Canadian companies or nationals, and then to react.
That's the dilemma we face: we feel a bit like the ant next to the elephant. What can we do about it? What suggestions would you have for the members of this committee as to what Canada should do in response to China's unacceptable behaviour towards Canadian citizens or Canadian companies?
Mr. Saint-Jacques, more specifically, you mentioned four Australian laws. You didn't have time in 10 minutes to say much more about them, so perhaps you'll have time to do so when you answer this question. Australia being a middle power, like Canada, we're certainly interested in that.
Guy Saint-Jacques
View Guy Saint-Jacques Profile
Guy Saint-Jacques
2020-03-09 10:35
Thank you for your question, Mr. Bergeron.
First of all, with regard to your first question, I think we need to adopt a much stronger language with China. As soon as we discover a case of interference in Canadian affairs, we have to react. However, there is a difference between influence and interference. The role of an embassy is to try to be as influential as possible. When you send ambassadors abroad, you expect them to become friends with political leaders, economic leaders and academics. So they develop a network, and it is the value of that network that determines their own value.
That said, China expects self-censorship. You see it on Canadian university campuses, where some sinologists are not very critical of China, I think. Maybe it's because they don't want to cut off their access there.
The only language China understands is the language of firmness. For example, when I was ambassador, we negotiated an agreement under which Chinese investigators could come to Canada to meet with fugitive economic criminals. A protocol was established so that there would necessarily be a Mandarin-speaking member of the RCMP at all meetings. At the end of one visit, I was informed by CSIS officials that there had been meetings outside of this framework. I asked them to provide me with the necessary information, and I went to see the Deputy Minister of Public Safety.
I asked him how the visit went. He told me that it went very well and thanked us for our collaboration. I asked him how he would feel if, after receiving guests in his home, he discovered that the silverware had disappeared. He asked me what I meant. I told him that his staff thought they were very smart and I showed him what they had done. I told him that if it happened again, a Chinese investigator would never come back to Canada again. He said that no one was going to violate the memoranda of understanding. So I think that's what needs to be done in all areas.
I'd now like to turn to the four laws in Australia. The first is the creation of a register in which all former politicians and senior officials working for a foreign state must be registered. I think that's a good way to ensure more transparency.
The second bill, which was passed, was aimed at preventing interference within the Australian political system, but also within the Chinese-Australian community and on campuses, through rules and punishments.
The third bill created a superministry where intelligence and security matters were consolidated to better address national security issues.
Finally, the last bill was about foreign donations to political organizations. The law now prevents such donations.
Howard Balloch
View Howard Balloch Profile
Howard Balloch
2020-03-09 10:38
I completely agree with Mr. Saint-Jacques. I think we need to work with the provinces as well, because they also have important responsibilities to prevent Chinese interference on our campuses and in Chinese-Canadian communities.
I have nothing particular to add on how we do it. I would seek our experts to figure out what we watch for in terms of their interference and how we align proper penalties for breaking those, but I would be very strict. We hear it all the time; people come innocently to Canada, to work in our graduate schools, and then they get a phone call that they are supposed to do something, or not do something, at the request of the Chinese consulate or embassy.
There is a lot we can do. It needs to be looked at. I agree completely with Mr. Saint-Jacques: We need law.
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