Minister Freeland lends a leading international voice . . .
Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland was one of the leading international voices to publicly weigh in on the increasingly violent protests in Hong Kong. She admonished the Hong Kong government to listen to the protesters and to consider the adverse impact of the proposed extradition law. In response, the Chinese Embassy in Canada released a statement calling upon Canada to avoid interfering in China’s internal affairs.
Chrétien proposes he visit China . . .
As Freeland was publicly denouncing China, other high-profile Canadians – notably former Prime Minister, Jean Chrétien – were pushing for a more conciliatory approach. Chrétien said Canada should release Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou and suggested he visit China as special envoy to negotiate a deal to free the two detained Canadians. Freeland was quick to quash both suggestions.
In search of a more co-ordinated approach . . .
The public spat between Freeland and Chrétien highlights the rift within the Liberal Party over its China agenda. Some Liberal Party members, mostly former officials from the Chrétien and Martin eras who support engagement with China, are dissatisfied with the Trudeau government’s handling of the Meng case. Meanwhile, Freeland is taking a more hawkish approach towards Beijing. In the lead-up to a federal election, and with negative public sentiment towards China at an all-time high, it will be interesting to see how the Liberal government arrives at a more co-ordinated strategy vis-à-vis Beijing.
- Global Affairs Canada: Statement on protest in Hong Kong
- The Globe and Mail: Chrétien proposes cancelling Meng’s extradition case to unfreeze relations with China
- The Globe and Mail: ‘It would be a very dangerous precedent’: Freeland rejects Chrétien’s idea to cancel Meng’s extradition case