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View Garnett Genuis Profile
Mr. Speaker, I move that the first report of the Special Committee on Canada-China Relations, presented on Wednesday, March 11, 2020, be concurred in.
I will be sharing my time with the member for Flamborough—Glanbrook.
It is critically important that we have this opportunity to discuss the horrific developments taking place in Hong Kong as we speak. However, before I get into the substance of my remarks, I would like to address a few words directly to the Chinese-Canadian community.
May is Asian Heritage Month, an opportunity to celebrate the rich contributions of Canadians of Asian origin. During this pandemic, we have seen how Asian community organizations and indeed a broad range of cultural organizations have stepped up to support people within and outside their communities. I want to particularly thank Friends of Hong Kong Edmonton for delivering a large quantity of masks to my constituency.
Asian Canadians were among the first to call for a stronger response to this pandemic. We should have listened. In the midst of important and necessary conversations about holding the Chinese government and specifically the Chinese Communist Party, or CCP, accountable for this global outbreak, some Asian Canadians are feeling pressure associated with increasing racism and even hate crimes. Some have tried to use this pandemic as an excuse to justify anti-Asian racism. Others have tried to use this racism as an excuse to demand that we dial back criticism of the CCP. Extremists on both sides, xenophobes on the one hand and CCP apologists on the other, seek to falsely conflate the oppressive political structures in China with Chinese people, culture and values. These two seemingly opposite evils, xenophobia and CCP support, can have a common intellectual root: the effort to associate Chinese people, culture and values with the political system of their oppressors.
Unfortunately, Dominic Barton, the Prime Minister's hand-picked ambassador to China, gave credence to this false conflation when he told the special committee on Canada-China Relations, “They place an importance on the values of collectivism and harmony, owing to a Confucian heritage. Understanding the extent to which China values unity and the needs of society at large, rather than freedom of individual choice...we just have to understand that.”
Ambassador Barton is wrong. He is wrong about Confucius, wrong about China and wrong about Chinese people. As an alternative to this distorted frame, we must advance a decoupling of these ideas, a recognition that Marxism's dehumanizing materialism is deeply alien to China's rich and ancient traditions of personal responsibility, reverence for beauty, continuity with the past and respect for the non-material aspects of life.
It is no contradiction, and in fact it is quite a natural combination, to love China and hate communism. Chinese people desire freedom at least as much as the rest of us. Former British prime minister Tony Blair said it best when he said, “Anywhere, anytime ordinary people are given the chance to choose, the choice is the same: freedom, not tyranny; democracy, not dictatorship; the rule of law, not the rule of the secret police.” We know in the particular case of the Chinese people that this is true, not just through general reasoning or abstract philosophy, but through the direct observation of events, including events in Hong Kong.
Last week, the member for Steveston—Richmond East and I co-hosted a webinar with leading figures in Hong Kong's democracy movement, under the title Why Hong Kong Matters. That is a good question for us to consider: What exactly is the particular importance of Hong Kong?
During the webinar, we discussed Hong Kong's commercial significance, both to China and to the rest of the world, and how efforts by the CCP to undermine its unique legal status will damage China's economy. We discussed how the new law imposed by the CPP violates China's international commitments under the Sino-British Joint Declaration. We discussed our obligations to defend human rights and our particular obligations toward the many Canadian citizens living in Hong Kong.
However, all these critical points undersell the most important answer to the question. Why does Hong Kong matter? It matters because Hong Kong provides the key to the whole world in terms of the challenges and conflicts that now confront us in the 21st century. It is because we have a competition between two irreconcilable political systems, between, on the one hand, the freest societies in human history, and on the other hand, the most serious attempt in human history to turn George Orwell's 1984 technology-enabled dystopia into reality. The 21st century will provide the world with an emerging choice between these two options, with both seeing themselves as the culmination of our social and technological evolution.
Why does Hong Kong hold the key?
Hong Kongers have given so much to defend their freedoms, not only because those freedoms were promised in the Sino-British Joint Declaration, but also because these freedoms accord deeply with China's own history, culture and values. Hong Kong is no less Chinese than the mainland, no less informed by China's Confucian heritage, yet its people love their freedom with an electrifying and inspiring passion. Just like the brave protesters killed in the Tiananmen Square massacre, just like the people of Taiwan, just like the members of China's rapidly growing faith communities, these are Chinese women and men who love and defend their freedom.
When extremists on both sides of the spectrum try to conflate China with the darkness of communism, the reality of Hong Kong and its defence of its freedom shines its beacon of light to prove them wrong.
The CCP is trying to use this pandemic, a pandemic of its own making, to snuff out Hong Kong's light and to suppress this great city, and to hide the desire of Hongkongers, and of all Chinese people, to be free. The CCP understands why Hong Kong matters and so must we.
Today, we are considering a motion of the special committee on Canada-China relations, moved by the member for New Brunswick Southwest, objecting to the arrest of pro-democracy leaders in Hong Kong. The shocking arbitrary arrest of heroes of freedom and democracy appears now to have marked the beginning of a coordinated plan to end the effective meaning of the “one country, two systems” concept and replace it with direct rule from Beijing in the name of so-called national security.
Hong Kong's political system, though characterized by relative economic and personal freedom, is not a proper democracy. The presence in its legislature of representatives of so-called functional constituencies distorts results and limits popular control of the territory's government. These problems have led to growing calls for proper universal suffrage democracy, calls which I strongly support but which Liberal ministers in Canada have failed to support.
Hong Kong's undemocratic government has attempted to advance various security-related laws which would dramatically undermine Hong Kong's freedoms. These attempts have always been met by strong opposition. The latest protest movement, sparked by a proposed extradition law, expanded into a strong and sustained call for real democracy. In the midst of these protests, the Hong Kong government withdrew the extradition bill and pro-democracy parties won a historic victory in local elections.
In the face of opposition in the territory to their draconian plans, the government in Beijing now intends to eliminate even the pretense of respecting local decision-making by putting in place new sweeping security measures without even consulting Hong Kong's compromised institutions. These new imposed from Beijing measures contain no limitations on the ability of the CCP to invoke national security as an excuse to pursue whatever arbitrary measures it wants. This new law imposes a de facto single system on the whole of China decisively ending Hong Kong's freedom.
A recent article in Chinese state media openly declares that Jimmy Lai could be prosecuted for pro-democracy tweets under this new security law. It is making up crimes in order to prosecute those who it has already arrested. These measures are bad for China, bad for its economy and bad for its international reputation. However, the CCP has always shown that it is willing to put its desire for control ahead of the national interest and ahead of the people of China.
The CCP believes that any case in which Chinese people live in freedom is a threat to its system's survival because freedom is more contagious than any virus. When people have it, they do not want to give it up. When they see others have it, they want to get it themselves. Hong Kong reminds us that China, in all its beauty and complexity, is made up of women and men who desire and who deserve freedom, who stood in front of tanks because they did not want to live in a basic dictatorship.
The Canadian government in response to these events thus far has lacked the strength and moral clarity that is needed. Our foreign affairs minister chose to take a wait-and-see approach, while the Prime Minister simply called for de-escalation of tensions and genuine dialogue. It is disgraceful that we have such a mealy-mouthed response from the government on a clear-cut moral issue, which also involves the violation of international law. One wonders if after reading about the American civil rights movement, the Prime Minister reflected that what was really needed was just de-escalation of tensions.
There is no honour in trying to play the disinterested and neutral broker between the oppressor and the oppressed. There is only honour in championing the cause of the oppressed and working to advance the cause of justice.
That is what Canada did after Putin's invasion of Ukraine. We drove an international consensus which isolated the Kremlin, punished it for its actions and supported the Ukrainian people. We used a combination of economic and political measures to support victims of violence and to deter future aggression. A government with a principled foreign policy would be doing the same today.
In the last five years, we have seen a rapid slide away from principled foreign policy leadership to a policy of accommodation and appeasement that betrays our fundamental values and prioritizes the interests of a few well-connected companies and UN Security Council politics over questions of human rights and fundamental justice.
In the absence of government leadership, we have and we must continue to use the tools of the minority Parliament to compel the government to do better. We need to resume meetings of the special committee on Canada-China relations as soon as possible. The government opposed the creation of that committee, but all opposition parties stood together to advance what was right. In this perilous time for Hong Kong, and for the whole world, we must do so again.
View David Sweet Profile
View David Sweet Profile
2020-05-25 15:31 [p.2363]
Mr. Speaker, Chinese people are kind and gentle people with a deep respect for family, tradition, faith and caring for the elderly. These are among the many fine qualities of their character, but they are an oppressed people, oppressed by the Chinese People's Party's communist regime in Beijing.
I make this important distinction up front. While I will be speaking today about the many alarming human rights violations committed by the Chinese Communist Party, this should never ever be mistaken for criticism of Chinese people and the many hard-working Canadians of Chinese ethnicity in my home town and across the country. It is the regime they suffer under.
Canadians have become keenly aware and increasingly concerned by the actions of the Chinese communist regime. Today, it is probably the issue I hear most from my constituents. That is why the House voted in December to strike a Special Committee on Canada-China Relations on a motion from my colleague, the hon. member for Durham. This committee has done good work. I would like to acknowledge the work of members of all parties toward the report of the Special Committee on Canada-China Relations.
I want to draw the House's attention to the abysmal human rights record of the Chinese communist regime by touching on five examples. Each could be a speech unto its own. However, these five examples underscore the long, consistent and deliberate pattern of the CCP in flouting any acceptable international standards of human rights. Simply put, the Chinese Communist Party, particularly under Xi Xi Jinping, is a ruthless, totalitarian regime that tightly controls its people and inflicts brutal oppression on its ethnic and religious minorities.
First is the Uighur Muslim minority in China. While reports of numbers vary from 1.5 to 3 million who have been detained in re-education camps by the CCP, that is one out of every 10 Uighurs in China. The accounts of life in the camps range from brainwashing to forced labour to inhumane cruelty. The very notion of concentration camps in our day should be reprehensible. How can the world turn a blind eye? During the recent coronavirus outbreak in China, the Chinese Communist Party kept the Uighurs locked up, risking certain wide spread virus outbreaks and death in the very camps. Do we even have the full story on this yet?
Maybe the longest persecution of an ethnic and religious minority by the CCP are Tibetans. I have spoken on this in this chamber and at the subcommittee on international human rights for as long as I have been elected. Again, Tibetans have a long, proud history, one that the CCP regime does not recognize and has done its best to crush. They are an impediment to the regime's goals. As a result, the CCP brutally cracks down on any behaviour that it believes promotes Tibetan culture. So brutal are its measures, that Tibetans are self-immolating in protest of the regime. It is reported that since 2009, 128 men and 28 women have set themselves on fire to protest this regime.
What have we become, that we do not shout from the rooftops and take sanctioning measures against the perpetrators of these heinous human rights violations that are so abhorrent, people will set themselves on fire?
Christians are another favourite target of the officially-atheist Communist Party. Why? Because any organized group of people is a threat to the iron grip the CCP has and wants to maintain over its citizenry. Under Xi Xi Jinping, that grip has grown even tighter. Churches are being closed, pastors are being jailed at an alarming rate and there are ever-increasing random arrests and questioning by state police.
A fourth human rights abuse is the plight of the practitioners of Falun Gong, a peaceful ancient spiritual practice. Those who practice Falun Gong in China face harsh persecution at the hands of the CCP and its police forces. If arbitrary arrests, forced labour and torture were not enough, we have had witness testimony at the subcommittee on international human rights of organ harvesting. Our former distinguished colleagues, the Hon. David Kilgour, as well as well-know human rights lawyer, David Matas, have given compelling evidence repeatedly on this practice by the CCP. Let us think about that: detaining Falun Gong, imprisoning them arbitrarily, torturing them to death and then harvesting their organs for sale.
The fifth point I would like to make is about the CCP's treatment of its own people. Even the Han Chinese, the majority of the Chinese people, live under a totalitarian regime that tightly controls everything: the Internet, the content of their conversations, the education system, everything. There is no freedom of the press. There is no freedom of religion. There is no consistent rule of law. All that is needed to be arrested is trumped up charges. The police answer only to the Chinese Communist Party apparatus.
Since Tiananmen Square in 1989, political prisoners have been detained or have disappeared at an alarming rate. Xi Jinping has extended the crackdown on dissidents and has targeted lawyers, journalists, bloggers and women's and minority advocates, from house arrest to jail time, to those who are detained and then never heard of again.
Even in plain sight, the Chinese Communist Party regime in Beijing cares little for its own people. I was struck by a heart-wrenching story of a father whose disabled son died of starvation while he was in quarantine over the coronavirus. It is but one example of that heartless regime.
In addition to these five examples of flagrant human rights abuses by the Chinese Communist Party, we have recent and direct cause for concern as Canadians. As has been noted, two Canadians, Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig, have been held in Chinese prisons for more than a year with the lights turned on 24-7. Moreover, the CCP has consistently weaponized its trade with Canada and other countries, consistently bullied countries in its own hemisphere and manipulated others like the DRC and Burma. It is no wonder that more and more I am hearing from Canadians who are fed up with how Canada is being treated by the CCP. They have every right to be outraged.
All that I have talked about for the last number of minutes brings me to this point. The Chinese Communist Party has a long history of persecution and cracking down on dissent. That is why the developments in Hong Kong, really since the one country, two systems agreement was signed but now at a boiling point this week, have to be of major concern to us. My colleague, the hon. member for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, has already spoken eloquently about this. While the world has been preoccupied by COVID-19, China has been cracking down on Hong Kong, hoping no one will notice. On Friday, the National Congress of the Communist Party of China unilaterally instituted a national security law on Hong Kong. In response, thousands upon thousands of Hong Kongers took to the streets this week in a protest amid COVID-19. Under the watchful eye of the police, they risked everything. We are witnessing the end of the one country, two systems agreement. We are witnessing the end of Hong Kong.
The response from the Liberal government has been acquiescence and naiveté. Canada must do more than just hope for dialogue; we have a duty to the 300,000 Canadians in Hong Kong. We have a duty to the 554 fallen Canadians whose blood was spilled in defence of Hong Kong against the Japanese army in December 1941. They fought against overwhelming odds. There are 283 Canadians from that battle who remain in the Sai Wan War Cemetery. We have a duty to them. We are a leading democracy in the world. We stand up for human rights, democracy and freedom. What have we become? How can Canada just stand by? On behalf of 300,000 Canadians, out of respect for the Canadian blood that has been spilled in Hong Kong, and for all those who believe in human rights and freedom, having not forgotten how the CCP, under Xi Jinping, has treated Uighurs, Tibetans, minority Christians, practitioners of Falun Gong and self-respecting democracies around the world, we must act now.
I move:
That the motion be amended by deleting all the words after the word “That” and substituting the following: “the First Report of the Special Committee on Canada-China Relations, presented on March 11, 2020, be not now concurred in, but that it be recommitted to the Special Committee on Canada-China Relations with instruction
(a) to amend the same so as to make recommendations reflecting a broader assessment of the evolving situation facing pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong; and
(b) to meet within one week of the adoption of this order in order to consider this matter, provided that, if the House stands adjourned at the time the committee meets and certain standing committees have been empowered to meet by video or teleconference during that adjournment period, the shared and relevant provisions applying to those standing committees shall also apply to the committee and during the same timeframe, the committee may continue to meet for the same from time to time.”
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2020-03-11 15:27 [p.1940]
Mr. Speaker, the following question will be answered today: Question No. 242.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)

Question No. 242--
Mr. Don Davies:
With regard to the People’s Republic of China: how many Canadian citizens are currently (i) in detention, (ii) in detention with charge, (iii) in detention without charge, (iv) in detention without access to consular services, (v) in detention with access to consular services, (vi) in detention for reasons related to state security, (vii) subject to an exit ban, (viii) subject to an exit ban relating to a civil matter, (ix) subject to an exit ban relating to a criminal matter, (x) subject to an exit ban relating to state security, (xi) subject to prolonged interrogations, (xii) subject to interrogations without counsel?
Hon. François-Philippe Champagne (Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lib.):
Mr. Speaker, the following reflects a consolidated response approved on behalf of Global Affairs Canada ministers.
With regard to (i) to (xii), currently, Global Affairs Canada is aware of 123 Canadians in detention in the greater China region. This figure includes of Canadians in mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. It should be noted that in terms of the overall volume of arrests and detentions in the greater China region, an average of 116 cases were opened each year between 2009 and 2018. The vast majority of these cases were closed.
A Canadian is considered to be in detention when he or she is in prison, in a detention centre or in a medical facility. As a result, the number of Canadians in detention may change from day to day, due to the updating of the detention status in the database. The number of Canadians visiting the greater China region has increased steadily over the past decade, and not all arrests and detentions are reported to the department. As a result, comparisons from one year to the next should be made with caution.
View Anthony Rota Profile
Lib. (ON)

Question No. 241--
Mr. Scott Reid:
With regard to policies and procedures of Correctional Service Canada (CSC), specifically at the Joyceville Institution: (a) what policies and procedures were in place on December 1, 2019, with respect to (i) administrative segregation, (ii) disciplinary segregation, (iii) segregation units, (iv) structured intervention units, (v) any analogous practice or unit; (b) what policies and procedures were in place on December 1, 2019, with respect to protective custody and inmates whose safety has been deemed at risk, if different than those identified in (a); (c) since December 1, 2017, on which date or dates were the policies and procedures identified in (a) and (b) amended, in each case; (d) what are the details of the amendments identified in (c) in each case; (e) on which dates were the amendments identified in (c) and (d) brought into force and effect, in each case, if those dates are different than the dates identified in (c); (f) were any of the inmates who were injured on December 1, 2019, subject to any of the policies and procedures identified in (a) and (b), and, if so, what are the details in each case; (g) were any of the inmates who were injured on December 1, 2019, affected by any of the amendments identified in (c) and (d), and, if so, what are the details in each case; (h) were any of the inmates who were injured on December 1, 2019, subject to any changes in their handling, within 30 days before December 1, 2019, as a result of policy or procedural changes not identified in (c) and (d), and, if so, what are the details in each case; (i) have the policies and procedures identified in (a) and (b) been amended since December 1, 2019, and, if so, what are the details, including the date or dates, in each case; (j) have the policies and procedures identified in (f) and (g) been amended since December 1, 2019, and, if so, what are the details, including the date or dates, in each case; and (k) have the policies and procedures identified in (h) been amended since December 1, 2019, and, if so, what are the details, including the date or dates, in each case?
(Return tabled)

Question No. 243--
Mr. Don Davies:
With regard to the Tobacco and Vaping Products Act (TVPA), for the period of May 23, 2018, to December 14, 2019: (a) what compliance and enforcement actions have been taken to ensure that advertisements, promotions and testimonials for (i) Vype vaping products distributed by Imperial Tobacco Canada, (ii) JUUL vaping products, (iii) Logic Compact vaping products, (iv) STLTH vaping products, (v) myBLU vaping products, (vi) Mylé vaping products are in compliance with the TVPA and its regulations; (b) if compliance and enforcement actions have been taken with respect to these products, what has been the result of those enforcement actions with respect to (i) correspondence with manufacturers or retailers, (ii) charges laid against manufacturers or retailers, (iii) products seized; and (c) have Health Canada officials made any recommendations for adjustments to (i) the TVPA and its regulations, (ii) compliance and enforcement processes, (iii) other related processes, and, if so, what?
(Return tabled)

Question No. 244--
Mr. Brian Masse:
With regard to federal funding allocated within the constituencies of Windsor West, Essex and Windsor—Tecumseh, since the fiscal year 2014-15, and including the current fiscal year: (a) what is the total amount of government funding allocated broken down by constituency; and (b) for each constituency, what are the amounts broken down by (i) department or agency, (ii) initiative?
(Return tabled)
View Elizabeth May Profile
View Elizabeth May Profile
2020-02-28 12:18 [p.1751]
Madam Speaker, I am pleased to present a petition today that has been brought forward by a number of concerned Canadians. Unfortunately, with the new formatting, it is not possible to see in what ridings these petitioners reside.
The petitioners call for the Government of Canada to pay attention to the experience in other countries, particularly Portugal, where incarceration of people suffering from drug and addiction problems has been ended. Instead, effective rehabilitation programs are in place to ensure that people suffering from drug dependency are able to again participate in a meaningful way in society.
The petitioners ask for the end of incarceration and a commitment to treatment programs.
View Garnett Genuis Profile
Mr. Speaker, the Canadian ambassador to China, Dominic Barton, the Prime Minister's hand-picked choice for that post, came before the Special Committee on Canada-China Relations on February 5. He spoke about his mandate. He said during his opening statement:
I want to say also that the utmost priority of my goal and objectives is to work for the release of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, and to seek clemency for Robert Schellenberg. That's right in the headlights, and I think about that every day.
Later in his testimony he said:
Getting to my mandate and priorities in discussions with the Prime Minister and then with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the overall objective is to restore the relationship, but with three priorities, and I would argue, one very important caveat that's in that.
First and foremost is to secure the release of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, and get clemency for Robert Schellenberg. That is core; that's a priority.
Notice that Ambassador Barton was not just speaking about his own personal priorities, he was speaking about the mandate he had been given by the Prime Minister. He returned to that specific formulation, “securing the release of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor and gaining clemency for Robert Schellenberg”, twice more during his remarks.
Certainly Canadians would expect the government to do all it can to secure the release of detained Canadians. However, when I asked about the case of another detained Canadian, Huseyin Celil, the ambassador initially appeared completely unaware of what I was talking about. He then said:
...Huseyin is not a Canadian citizenship holder, we aren't able to get access to him on a consular services side.
Mr. Celil is a Canadian citizen, and he has been in prison for a decade and a half in China. It is, frankly, a disgrace that we would appoint an ambassador who is so ignorant of something so basic, and he seemed similarly unaware of Canada's policy in the South China Sea.
This is not principally about Ambassador Barton. It is evident that the Prime Minister gave a specific mandate to the ambassador to secure the release of some Canadians, but not all Canadians, detained in China.
Why did the Prime Minister give Ambassador Barton a mandate to seek the release of some Canadians but not others? Mr. Celil is a Uighur Muslim and a dual national. Some have wondered if racism has informed the decision to omit securing the release of Mr. Celil from Ambassador Barton's mandate.
At a time when China's government denies dual nationality and when religious and ethnic minorities in China, especially Uighur Muslims, face horrific abuses of human rights, it might be convenient to throw this Muslim Canadian under the bus and ignore his fundamental human rights. It might be convenient, but it is deeply immoral and contrary to our values.
I have no doubt that the government, now pressed on this issue, will say that it cares about Mr. Celil, and I fully expect the parliamentary secretary to say that.
However, the government needs to explain why Ambassador Barton's mandate from the Prime Minister did not include securing the release of Mr. Celil. It needs to explain the mention four times of three other consular cases, but no mention of Mr. Celil during the introductory remarks.
The government must do more than just say that it cares. It must formally direct our ambassador to make securing the release of Mr. Celil a central part of his mandate. It must direct him to publicly clarify that he regards Mr. Celil as a Canadian citizen.
Will it?
View Robert Oliphant Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Robert Oliphant Profile
2020-02-20 18:20 [p.1361]
Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to address the issue that has been brought forward by the member of Parliament for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan.
Huseyin Celil is a Canadian citizen, point final. As the Prime Minister and the Minister of Foreign Affairs have consistently stated, the government continues to be seized at all levels by cases of Canadians detained in China, including the long-standing case of Mr. Celil. Mr. Celil has been in detention in Xinjiang since 2006.
The provision of consular services to Canadians in China is governed by a bilateral agreement that details consular obligations and entitlements of our two countries in order to facilitate the protection of the rights and interests of our citizens. While China has agreed to provide consular access to Canadians who entered China on a Canadian travel document, China has not granted Canadian officials consular access in cases where China does not recognize the individual's Canadian citizenship.
In the case of Mr. Celil, despite repeated and ongoing attempts, Canadian officials have not been granted consular access. The government is deeply concerned about the case of Mr. Celil and will continue to raise his case at every opportunity at senior levels, frankly, as I did myself last spring when I travelled to China on a trip of the China-Canada legislative committee, on which the Conservatives chose not to go.
The government continues to be deeply concerned. Canadian officials will continue to advocate for Mr. Celil and seek consular access to him in order that they can verify his health and well-being and to offer him assistance.
It is very well known to us that Mr. Celil is of Uighur ethnicity. Canada is deeply concerned, and any insinuation to the contrary is simply false. Canada remains deeply concerned by the mass detention of Uighurs in Xinjiang, based on their ethnicity and religion under the pretext of countering extremism.
We acknowledge the pain and hardship experienced by Mr. Celil's family as a result of his detention. Consular officials are in communication with Mr. Celil's family and will continue to provide support until they are reunited.
Uighurs have been disappearing into detention in China. Getting information about their whereabouts can be incredibly challenging. Publicly and privately, in multilateral fora as well as in bilateral conversations, Canada has consistently called on the Chinese government to address the situation.
Canada has called on the Chinese government to allow the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and UN Special Procedures immediate, unfettered, meaningful access to Xinjiang.
Finally, I would like to extend thanks to all consular officials working in Ottawa and in our missions abroad, offering and attempting to offer consular services. I have personally been extremely impressed and moved by the commitment they have to their work, which is the best in terms of public service I have ever seen.
Our government will always stand up for Canadians in need of assistance abroad. Mr. Celil will remain in our hearts at all times.
View Garnett Genuis Profile
Mr. Speaker, I know the parliamentary secretary and I take him at his word about his personal concern about this case.
I do think it is important to press the question about Ambassador Barton, the Prime Minister's choice, about his testimony and about his account of his mandate. While the parliamentary secretary may make the occasional trip to China along with other members, the ambassador is our most high profile man representing the Government of Canada in China.
I think the parliamentary secretary would have to acknowledge the damage done when the ambassador makes the kinds of public statements he did. We still have not seen a public statement from the ambassador, clarifying that he understands and supports the Government of Canada's position.
I would like to know why the Prime Minister's mandate to him, at least as he accounts for it, did not include any mention of Mr. Celil's case.
View Robert Oliphant Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Robert Oliphant Profile
2020-02-20 18:25 [p.1362]
Mr. Speaker, the Government of Canada, as I said, remains deeply concerned about the ongoing detention of Mr. Celil, as well as over 100 Canadians in detention in China. As with all cases of Canadian citizens detained abroad, our officials have repeatedly sought consular access in order to determine Mr. Celil's well-being.
With respect to Dominic Barton, Canada is fortunate now to have Dominic Barton as our ambassador in Beijing. He has a deep knowledge and understanding of China and its history. He has been actively advocating for Canada in Beijing everyday. He is raising the cases of Canadians detained in China at every opportunity, including Mr. Celil, and working to improve our bilateral relations at the same time, including re-establishing full commercial ties for our farmers and other sectors.
I believe all Canadians and all members of the House should be supportive of these things.
View Dan Albas Profile
Madam Speaker, when asked about Canada's policy in the South China Sea, our ambassador to China drew a blank. When asked about a Canadian in prison in China for 15 years, he did not seem to know the basic details. He had to be corrected by the member for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan.
First impressions matter, and Canadians' first impression of the Liberal-appointed ambassador was weak at best. How many times will we have to step in and cover for the ambassador's mistakes?
View François-Philippe Champagne Profile
Lib. (QC)
Madam Speaker, I am so proud to see you in the chair.
I would like to say to my hon. colleague that he will not have to do that. We are very proud of Ambassador Barton's work. He brings a wealth of experience, and he is the type of Canadian we like to attract into the public service.
He is representing Canada, bringing his wealth of experience and defending Canadian interests in China at a time when we need someone strong who understands the deep nature of the relationship we have with China. We are very proud of his work and will support him every step of the way.
View Garnett Genuis Profile
Mr. Speaker, yesterday during question period, the Prime Minister called Ambassador Dominic Barton a deep expert in how we would move forward on improving the situation of Canadians in China. However, when asked about the detention of Huseyin Celil, Barton claimed that Celil was not a Canadian citizen. Celil's citizenship is not acknowledged by China because he happens to be a dual national, but a Canadian is a Canadian.
Does the Prime Minister still have confidence in his ambassador and will he set the ambassador straight about Mr. Celil's citizenship?
View François-Philippe Champagne Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Speaker, Canadians would agree that a Canadian is a Canadian. I am happy that on this side of the House we understand that.
We are deeply concerned about Mr. Celil and we will continue to raise his case at every opportunity at senior levels. We will continue to call upon the Chinese government to give Canadian officials consular access in order to determine his well-being and offer him assistance, like we will do for every Canadian.
View Garnett Genuis Profile
Mr. Speaker, the question was not about buzzwords; it was about citizenship. The ambassador told the committee yesterday that this Canadian citizen, who has been in prison for 15 years and has never met his youngest son, was not a Canadian citizen.
Could the minister stand in his place, at the very least, and set the ambassador straight; tell us that he believes Mr. Celil to be a citizen; and that he will call the ambassador and tell him to recognize, publicly, the Canadian citizenship of this long-detained Canadian?
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