Disclosure: Garnett Genuis MP is the Conservative Member of Parliament for the riding of Sherwood Park – Fort Saskatchewan.
We are at a crossroad in how we think about our relationship with China. Many elites and self-identified “experts” on China have failed to predict recent developments. Yet, many of the same people continue to advise a course that has failed to deliver results in the past.
With a minority government scenario a distinct possibility in the outcome of Monday’s federal election, The Post Millennial offers a primer on how it would shake out in Canada’s Westminster parliamentary system.
First, even if Andrew Scheer’s Conservatives win more seats than the incumbent-Liberals, if it’s not the magic majority number of 170, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau retains
“It’s a complete fiction that whoever wins the most seats (in a minority) gets to form the new government – Trudeau’s the incumbent so he gets the ability to try and maintain confidence in the House.” explains Dale Smith, a parliamentary reporter in Ottawa and author of The Unbroken Machine; Canada’s Democracy in Action.
“He can do that by asking other parties to support him or he can enter into a formal arrangement, whether it’s to prop his government up, or a coalition which would involve having members of other parties involved in the cabinet, a less likelier possibility… he does not need to ask the Governor General’s permission to do that.”
Interestingly, a third-place finish for Trudeau would give him that ability as well, according to Smith, unless he concedes defeat or follows his father Pierre Trudeau’s famous footsteps into the snow.
“Trudeau would need to resign, or signal his intention to resign for (other parties) to cobble together whatever kind of agreement they would want and let the Governor General invite someone else, Scheer presumably, to form a government,” says Smith.
“But until Trudeau makes that decision, it’s his decision to make basically. It’s not the Governor General’s decision, it’s not Scheer’s decision.”
If Trudeau were to recall the House in a post-election minority situation – entirely within his purview as incumbent-PM – issue a Throne Speech and lose the subsequent confidence vote, resignation or asking the Governor General to dissolve parliament and plunge the country into another election remain options.
It is at this juncture that the
Budget bills are also considered a “test of confidence” for sitting governments.
LeBron James has not had a history of silence on social issues facing the U.S. In speaking candidly with Jon Stewart, he said: “at the end of the day when I decided I was going to start speaking up, and not giving a fuck about the backlash, or if it affects me, my whole mindset was: it’s not about me. I think [Mohammed] Ali already knew that it wasn’t about him. I’m gonna get the backlash. I’m gonna go to jail, for what this is gonna do for the next group, for the next athlete, for the next minority who wants to speak up.
That’s true for social justice issues in the U.S., but for LeBron, youth in the rest of the world just doesn’t deserve his support.
LeBron was asked about the NBA-China debacle that saw the NBA grovel and apologize for the Houston Rockets GM, Daryl Morey, and his comments supporting freedom and democracy for Hong Kong. LeBron James had the gall to say: “We all talk about this freedom of speech. Yes, we all do have freedom of speech, but at times, there are ramifications for the negative that can happen when you’re not thinking about others, and you’re only thinking about yourself. I don’t want to get in a word … sentence feud with Daryl Morey, but I believe he wasn’t educated on the situation at hand, and he spoke. And so many people could have been harmed, not only financially, but physically, emotionally, spiritually. So just be careful what we tweet and what we say and what we do. Even though yes, we do have freedom of speech, but there can be a lot of negative that comes with that too.”
It’s astonishing to see such a flip flop on free speech from James. What changed? The NBA, which makes millions off Chinese revenue, has effectively muzzled its staff and players from speaking out in favour of democracy since Morey’s comments. The NBA has exposed itself as being deeply hypocritical on the issue of human rights and King James has just cemented his status as King of the Hypocrites.
The NBA is an enormous industry in China. Brought to China by YMCA missionaries in the late 1800s, basketball became much loved by the people. Mao was a proponent of the sport as well, as were the generals in the Red Army. When Chinese media began playing NBA highlight reels in the 1980s, the country was hooked. In the 1990s, the NBA signed a Television deal with China, just in time for Michael Jordan to capture the hearts of a new fan base, and the NBA in China exploded. Merchandise sales followed.
Basketball in China was not political, it was instead an arena where Chinese and American fans could come together for entertainment that had nothing to do with social differences. The Houston Rockets drafted Yao Ming in a first round draft pick in 2002, and brought intense national pride to Chinese basketball fans. The NBA in China, as have so many other American companies, have steered clear of any political conversation regarding China’s totalitarianism or human right abuses. There is clearly a profit motive here, but also a well-intentioned (albeit poorly executed) goal of keeping basketball in a place where people could enjoy the game for entertainment value alone.
James was echoing the sentiments of the NBA in his response to Morey. The NBA basically wanted Morey to shut up. But what happened is that the NBA, in trying to appease China, angered both U.S. free speech advocates and Chinese basketball fans. Chinese state TV pulled the preseason Rockets games from their broadcast schedule, and the American media and the Twitterverse freaked out. When NBA Commissioner Adam Silver addressed the situation while on a visit to Asia in support of the preseason games being played on the continent, he walked a very fine line.
“There is no doubt, the economic impact is already clear,” Silver said to Kyodo news. “There have already been fairly dramatic consequences from that tweet, and I have read some of the media suggesting that we are not supporting Daryl Morey, but in fact we have… I think as a values-based organization that I want to make it clear… that Daryl Morey is supported in terms of his ability to exercise his freedom of expression.”
With the NBA’s biggest star and ambassador advocating for Morey’s “reeducation,” those words might ring a bit hollow. James tried to clean up his mess by explaining that his teammates and the league have had a “difficult week”:
The protestors in Hong Kong have had a “difficult week” or two themselves. But James is here to deliver the NBA’s message of silence and collaboration with a brutal communist dictatorship. The Hong Kong protesters need to be supported. Period.
The silver lining of this dark cloud over the NBA is that a new basketball superstar has emerged in the name of Enes Kanter. Kanter immediately tweeted his disgust for James’ terrible Hong Kong by speaking out about his own plight fighting for democracy in Turkey.
Kantor followed up with an impassioned op-ed for the Boston Globe about his activism. Perhaps Kanter could take some time out of his busy schedule to educate Lebron about the importance of democracy and free speech. After all, if there’s one thing that this whole embarrassing fiasco has revealed, it’s that the one who needs an education is LeBron James.
China has issued an angry statement over Stephen Harper’s recent visit to Taipei, the capital of Taiwan. His visit makes him the first former Prime Minister to step foot in the province/country and he publicly praised Taiwan’s democratic process, while giving a thinly veiled critique of Communist China.
“China expresses strong dissatisfaction with the relevant Canadian person’s visit to Taiwan and has lodged serious representations to the Canadian side,” China’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement to the Globe and Mail.
“We urge Canada to fully recognize the sensitivity and complexity of the Taiwan issue, to earnestly abide by the one-China principle and properly handle Taiwan-related issues,” the Foreign Ministry said.
China has long been concerned over the state of Taiwan, an autonomous, democratic nation within a nation which China has de facto claimed as its own province.
It has never ruled out the possibility of using force to subjugate the nation if Taiwan ever becomes too independent or separatist.
Amidst the Hong Kong freedom movement, these concerns have grown as has criticism and hostility over anyone who would promote such autonomy.
Several Liberal and NDP candidates have apologized for their decision to frequently advertise with openly antisemitic newspapers.
The activity of the candidates was first discovered by B’nai Brith Canada, who has been tracking the activity of the “Ontario-based Arabic-language newspaper” al-Forqan.
One NDP candidate, Brian Masse, and three Liberal candidates, Sandra Pupatello, Irek Kusmierczyk, and Audrey Festeryga all advertised with this newspaper, which has continually advocated for political Jihad and the need to bomb Israel.
“In 2016, B’nai Brith exposed an editorial in al-Forqan that praised terrorist attacks in Israel as a “sacred duty of jihad.” This prompted the Multicultural Council of Windsor and Essex County to cut ties with Mohammed Khalifeh, al-Forqan’s Managing Director,” writes B’nai Brith Canada.
This is the same newspaper that found it appropriate to publish “The Hour [of Judgment] will not come until the Muslims fight the Jews and kill them” and lines such as “Lying is an attribute inherent to the Jews!”
The other newspaper is the Toronto-based al-Meshwar, which has also praised terrorist attacks and openly advocated for the elimination of Jews.
Scarborough Centre MP Salma Zahid had been advertising with al-Meshwar, saying that he was completely unaware of such posts and advocacy and will never advertise with them again, reports B’nai Brith Canada.
Often one for not caring about the irony of the situation, the Chinese government has banned South Park in China following an episode that critiqued the U.S. media’s acquiescence to Chinese media investors and censors.
The controversial episode “Band in China” follows Stan and the gang as they try to promote a band in China by making a biopic, only to be told they need to censor themselves to appeal to Chinese audiences if they want access to Chinese revenue streams.
The episode is also rife with criticism of Hollywood, depicting Randy Marsh on a plane full of Marvel characters owned by Disney. They are all on their way to do the exact same thing the boys are asked to do: prostrate themselves and accept Chinese censorship for money.
South Park now joins the likes of Winnie the Pooh, who was featured in the episode. Pooh Bear was also banned in China because the lovable children’s character was used as a facial comparison to mock Chinese President Xi Jinping. Pooh Bear, first seen in a Chinese prison, is assassinated later in the episode by Randy Marsh at the behest of China, after a student makes the comparison.
Following their ban, South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker made a mock apology, which was really a tongue and cheek rip on the NBA’s apology for offending the Chinese government and upsetting the international market.
Not strangers to controversy, the two creators are unlikely to ever seriously apologize to China, no matter how much money gets thrown at them to self-censor, unlike Hollywood and Disney who have been all too ready to kowtow in order to make more money.
Two pro-Hong Kong, 76ers fans say they were kicked out of a basketball game on Tuesday for waving signs and shouting support for the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong. The motivation for the small demonstration was likely due to who the 76ers were playing, the Guangzhou Loong-Lions of the Chinese Basketball Association.
Sam Wachs of Chestnut Hill, who attended with his wife, didn’t think the signs would cause a big disruption, but say they were removed from the game, nonetheless.
Wachs spoke with NBC10 after the incident, explaining that he lived in Hong Kong for two years and supports the protesters.
“We were just sitting in our seats near the Chinese bench,” Wachs said.
“As they were sitting, Wachs said security confiscated their signs,” reports NBC10. “He then said they were kicked out of the game during the second quarter by security after they yelled, “Free Hong Kong.”
“We were saying, ‘Free Hong Kong,’’ Wachs told NBC10. “What’s wrong with that?”
The 76ers released the following statement on the incident:
The Wells Fargo Center’s event staff is responsible for the security and comfort of all guests at arena events, including 76ers games. At last evening’s game, following multiple complaints from guests and verbal confrontations with others in attendance, two individuals were warned by Wells Fargo Center staff about their continuing disruption of the fan experience. Ultimately, the decision was made by Wells Fargo Center personnel to remove the guests from the premises, which was accomplished without incident.”
The team also sent a statement on behalf of Wells Fargo Center.
Accompanying this statement was one from the Wells Fargo Center, which read, “During the second quarter of last night’s 76ers game, Wells Fargo Center security responded to a situation that was disrupting the live event experience for our guests. After three separate warnings, the two individuals were escorted out of the arena without incident. The security team employed respectful and standard operating procedures.”
This latest incident is only the most recent after a scandal last week which saw NBA Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey initially censored for a pro-Hong Kong tweet, likely at the behest of China. The NBA later came out in defence of Morey’s free speech rights.