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Results: 1 - 11 of 11
View Barry Devolin Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you.
Thank you, Mr. Kirby, for being here today.
As someone with a long-standing interest in North Korea and these issues, I watched with great interest from a distance as you and your commission did your work. What I think many of us found most interesting is that most of what you found was already known; there really wasn't a lot of new information. But I think it was an example of how a formal process, under the auspices of something like the United Nations, and the gathering and coherent presentation of information actually did change the conversation. The process that you and your commission of inquiry went through did make a difference and actually pushed this debate to the next level. I thank you and your colleagues for having done that.
When we talk about North Korean human rights and violations of human rights, of course, there are those who are still in North Korea. Then there are the North Koreans who have escaped overland into China, where they are still under threat, because as we all know, if they are apprehended by Chinese authorities they will be forcibly repatriated. It would seem that China is choosing not to take seriously its own obligations to not forcibly repatriate those who have reason to fear for their safety if they're sent back to their homeland. Then there is that underground railway that many of them take, which can take several years to get through China. Thailand is usually the destination of choice. And then some have resettled in South Korea and elsewhere.
But I want to talk about China for a minute, not about North Korea specifically. I question whether the international community has the ability to apply moral suasion against the DPRK to compel or persuade them to follow some of these international norms. China is difficult, but I think China provides a better opportunity for the global community to somehow persuade China not to forcibly repatriate North Koreans who have escaped. Maybe China doesn't want those people to stay in China, but I've often wondered whether the international community could come together and essentially make an offer to China, saying, “If you apprehend North Koreans, bring them to us and we will relocate them; we will deal with them from that point forward”.
I'm curious about what your thoughts are on that. Would there be a way to approach China—maybe from the side, so to speak, rather than in a direct confrontation on this matter—to try to create a situation where the lives of North Koreans who have made it over the first wall into China, but not over the second wall out of China, could be improved and the possibility of their ending up somewhere safe would be improved?
View Barry Devolin Profile
CPC (ON)
Yes, if I may, I would like to link two issues, one that Mr. Schellenberger raised and one that Ms. Grewal raised. It was referenced that in the past Canada has offered English lessons through the Canadian embassy. Actually, Senator Yonah Martin and I were a part of that effort in encouraging Canadian English teachers in Korea to volunteer some time.
We thought it was a great idea. It didn't work very well. One reason, we figured out subsequently, was that if you're a North Korean defector living in South Korea, the people you are the least comfortable around are actually other North Koreans because you fear that they are returning information to North Korea about your family. It's not necessarily a case of someone being a spy who comes to South Korea and it's high profile and people get sent back. They're more like moles who are gathering information, or maybe they themselves are being blackmailed for information.
If you go to a group English lesson, you tell your story and then unbeknownst to you that information is being sent back to North Korea. The link is that if you are a North Korean and you defect, which is a crime against the state, your generation, your parents' generation, and your children's generation have all committed a crime as well in the eyes of the law, and so they can be imprisoned.
To me, this is what makes a North Korean refugee so fundamentally different from refugees who come from other countries. Even after they get out, they still live in fear—not that someone is going to push them in front of a bus but that someone is listening to them, taking their information, trying to figure out which of their relatives back in North Korea are going to be punished for their crime.
If they can come to a place like Canada, that is far less likely to happen, although it's still possible. Any anxiety that they continue to live with, even when they're notionally free, never really goes away for some of those people. This is not the case for all North Koreans. For many of them, going to South Korea is the right option, but for a small minority, as HanVoice is talking about, it's not really an acceptable option. That's why we're talking about such a relatively small number of people.
View Barry Devolin Profile
CPC (ON)
This is the way it was described to me by someone in Korea. Imagine someone with a Scottish brogue arriving in London. It's not a slightly different accent. It's a very evident accent from North Korea, which people have a difficult time covering up, even if they tried to.
View Barry Devolin Profile
CPC (ON)
Good morning.
Is this where I come to get flood relief for Minden? Am I in the right place?
First of all, I'd like to thank the commission for the changes they made between the first and second draft. My riding, Haliburton—Kawartha Lakes—Brock, is an amalgam of four different upper tiers. I have all of the city of Kawartha Lakes, formerly known as Victoria County. I have all of the county of Haliburton, and I have the township of Brock, which is in Durham Region. That's about 85% of my riding. The proposal is they stay in the riding and nothing changes, and they are all extremely happy. This is in contrast to the first draft, which had cut my riding in half.
The only piece I want to talk to you about today is the fourth piece of my riding. I have three townships in the county of Peterborough: North Kawartha, Trent Lakes, and Cavan Monaghan. Under the proposal that is currently on the table, two of those, the smaller two, are being taken out of my riding and added to Peterborough—
View Barry Devolin Profile
CPC (ON)
The change for me is relatively small. In my current riding I have three townships in Peterborough County. The proposal is to take the two smaller ones away, population-wise, and leave me with the larger one. All we are proposing is that we reverse that. If I'm going to give something to the riding of Peterborough, Cavan Monaghan should be the piece added to Peterborough, instead of the other two rural municipalities. The total number of constituents I have in Peterborough County is about 15,000. It's currently proposed that I give 6,000 to Peterborough and keep 9,000. I just want to reverse that. I would keep the 6,000, and give up the 9,000.
The Township of Cavan Monaghan, which is proposed to be in my riding and which I am proposing should go to Peterborough, has stated that they have a preference of being in the Peterborough riding. The council has passed a motion in favour of what we're talking about today. The other two Peterborough townships that I'm proposing to get back are essentially indifferent. They have been in my riding since the 1960s. Even though they're part of Peterborough County, they've actually been in my riding since before the centennial.
I hope that you will approve that. If you don't, it's not the end of the world, but I think it makes sense on the ground and I think it makes a lot of sense for Mr. Del Mastro in Peterborough.
Thank you.
View Barry Devolin Profile
CPC (ON)
The change I am proposing only affects my riding and the riding of Peterborough.
As I said, in my current riding I have three rural municipalities. Rather than giving the two little ones to Peterborough and keeping the big one, we're just saying to reverse those two decisions. It's a difference of 9,000 versus 6,000 people, and so it's a differential of 3,000 people.
The only municipality that has passed a resolution is asking to join Peterborough; the other two have been silent on this. It's a relatively minor change, but I think it makes sense in the broader context of fixing the Peterborough and the Northumberland ridings.
View Barry Devolin Profile
CPC (ON)
The municipality of Cavan Monaghan, which is in my riding today, is proposed to be in my riding, but in our proposal we're talking about actually adding it to Peterborough instead.
Cavan Monaghan's first preference is to be part of the Peterborough riding, to actually be changed. Their second preference, very close, would be to stay where they are, which is in Haliburton—Kawartha Lakes—Brock. They absolutely and vehemently do not want to be added to Northumberland.
That is one of the problems with the proposal from other rural municipalities: it takes Cavan Monaghan out of their first choice, and their second choice, and clearly puts them in their last choice.
View Barry Devolin Profile
CPC (ON)
As you can also see from that map, my riding is twice as big as the other four put together. Oshawa is a small riding. It's a built-out urban area. I don't anticipate that what is going to be defined as the Oshawa riding will grow much in the next 10 years. The Northumberland riding is probably the fastest growing of all those. If that's taken into consideration, I think it would reinforce this proposal.
View Barry Devolin Profile
CPC (ON)
Correct.
If you look at the current map on the ground today and you compare it to the proposal that we saw last summer which was dramatically different, there was a lot of negative reaction. The second proposal was dramatically different.
One of the frustrations that the public has is that the second draft, if I can call it that, is so different from either the first draft or the current reality. It wasn't possible for the public to comment on something which, quite frankly, nobody even conceived, before this plan landed in February.
There wasn't any comment because it wasn't on the table.
View Barry Devolin Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you, Chair, and committee members. Thanks for being here, Ambassador.
For those of us who would like to see an improvement in the quality of life and the human rights of the people of North Korea in the near future—not after regime change, but in the near future—do you think we'd be better off to spend our time and effort trying to influence the Chinese, who obviously directly deal with North Korean refugees who cross into China, and try to persuade the Chinese to have an influence on the North Koreans? I'm presuming that the Chinese might be the only people the North Koreans listen to.
Would we be better off spending our time trying to persuade the Chinese to get things done, rather than our trying to persuade the North Korean regime directly?
Results: 1 - 11 of 11

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