Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the good people of Wellington—Halton Hills for returning me to the House to represent them, and I hope I am able to work as hard as I can to represent their interests and their concerns here on the floor of the House of Commons.
I support the motion, and I encourage all members of the House to do so, because things have changed with China. In the last year, we have seen the detention of the two Michaels, Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor. We have seen an increasingly hostile and aggressive government in Beijing that has put trade sanctions on the export of Canadian beef, pork and canola to China. We have seen a Chinese ambassador to Canada accuse the Canadian government of being white supremacists. That is just here in Canada.
Internationally, we have seen China intimidate and export its suppression of free speech and human rights by using economic blackmail. We have seen how they handled the issue when the Houston Rockets general manager spoke out on Hong Kong, or when a video game maker, Blizzard, encountered a gamer who expressed his views on the issue of Hong Kong.
We have seen what they have done with productions like South Park, which made a satire of the policies in China, and we have seen what they have done more recently with big business in this country, when they threatened Air Canada because it would list Taipei as being in Taiwan rather than as being part of mainland China. They are taking an increasingly aggressive and hostile stance and using economic blackmail to export values that run contrary to the values this country is based on, such as the rule of law, human rights, free expression and so many of the things that we cherish here in this country.
They have been acting belligerently in the South China Sea, in the construction of new islands to extend their sphere of sovereignty and in failing to recognize the treaty to which they are a party, the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, to which they are a signatory, as is Canada, and under which process of the United Nations their territorial claims in the South China Sea were denied, yet they fail to acknowledge those rulings.
More broadly, as a Christian, I feel quite strongly that people of all faiths should be able to enjoy religious liberty, whether they are Jews, Sikhs, Hindus, Muslims or people of any particular religious faith. In recent months, information has come to light about the shocking concentration camps of Uighurs in western China. It is now being reported that up to one million Uighurs are in concentration camps. I use that term deliberately, because that is what they are. They are camps that are housing families and individuals separated under austere and harsh conditions, and they are using torture techniques to deprogram them and to reprogram them as the Chinese state sees fit.
As a western country that 75 years ago fought on the beaches of Normandy, that fought for the liberation of Europe against the tyranny of totalitarianism and Nazism, we cannot stand silently by, when, because of this information, we are witness to the largest human rights abuse taking place today on this planet. That is no longer speculation; it is an incontrovertible fact. There are satellite images of these camps. There is now well-documented evidence from people who have fled, and we now know that up to one million Uighurs are in these concentration camps. We cannot ignore that fact any longer.
That is why we need, as a country, a new approach and why the Government of Canada needs to take a look at the Canada-China relationship, why it needs to reset the relationship and why a parliamentary committee, a legislative committee of Parliament, should be established to take a look at resetting this relationship.
It is clear from the government's actions in the last year that it is not interested in resetting the relationship. In fact, reading through the tea leaves of the government's actions, it is clear that it wants to continue business as usual. It is clear in the appointment of the Minister of Foreign Affairs; it is clear in the appointment of the Minister of International Trade; and it is clear in the appointment of Ambassador Dominic Barton. All three of those appointments are pro-business appointments that the pro-China business lobby wants. That is a strong signal to Canadians and to the world that the Canadian government believes that we can continue as usual and that the events of the last year or so have not made a difference in its view on how to deal with China.
I could not disagree more strongly. That is why we need a special legislative committee of this House, which is not under the authority of the executive branch of government, to take a look at this relationship, to call expert witnesses, in camera and in public, and to come forward with a report for the floor of this House to consider a reset in that relationship.
I will finish by saying that the Chinese government needs to understand that the approach it has been taking with Canada, and with countries like Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom, is not working. In fact, recent polls show that a majority of Canadians are opposed to having Huawei build Canada's 5G network. The Pew Research Center in the United States has done polling of China's neighbouring countries and found negative and declining favourability ratings for China in Southeast Asia. It finds the same results here in North America and in Europe, and the European Union has listed China as a systemic rival.
All this bellicosity and belligerence on the part of China is not working, but it seems to me that the current government in this country is completely naive and oblivious to this changing reality. That is why we need a committee independent of the PMO and the executive branch of government to study these issues and to take a serious look at resetting this relationship with a view to considering decoupling our relationship with China and reorienting Canada away from China and that part of the Pacific, toward parts of the world that not only share our values but have large economies that we can broaden and deepen trade ties with.