The strained relationship between China and Canada is continuing to further deteriorate, as a Canadian woman and her family were temporarily detained and intimidated while traveling through Beijing’s international airport.
According to a Global News report, “Ti-Anna Wang and her infant daughter and husband appear to be the latest reprisal against Canadians in a Chinese campaign to force Canada to allow a senior executive of Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. to return home.”
Who is Ti-Anna Wang?
Bingzhang Wang, Ti-Anna’s father was one of the first Chinese citizens to study in Canada, but after having three children in Canada he returned to promoting democracy in China from abroad.
In 2002 Mr. Wang was
The detainment of Ms. Wang and her family in the Beijing International Airport appears highly connected to the recent dispute and growing tensions between Canada and China, as Ti-Anna and her whole family were provided with visas before arriving.
The subsequent detainment, which included a refusal to allow Ms. Wang to change her baby’s diaper, all point to an intent to punish and intimidate.
Canada-China relationship in free fall
Ms. Wang’s troubling experience with Chinese officials is sadly only the latest example.
Since the arrest of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou, China has arrested two Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, both of whom face up to four hours of questioning each day, have no access to a
The Chinese ambassador also described Canada as a nation of “white supremacists,” while the country changed a 15-year prison sentence on drug changes to the death sentence for Canadian, Robert Lloyd Schellenberg.
Mr. Schellenberg was originally detained in 2014 and sentenced two years later to 15 years in prison, but an appeals court ordered a re-trial following Canada’s detention of Meng Wanzhou.
While these actions have put a serious strain on Canada-China relations, according to the Globe and Mails Campbell Clark, they have also begun to worry Ottawa’s allies, many of whom are beginning to have concerns about how the single-party state will act
This has led nations such as the United States, Britain, France, Germany and Australia, as well as the European Union to already declare their opposition to China’s intimidation tactics on the world stage.
The United States and Canada have even issued travel warnings, citing the potential for arbitrary arrests of foreign nationals in the nation.
What will happen going forward?
According to two of Canada’s former top-ranking officials, the dispute is unlikely to be resolved anytime soon.
That means the two detained Canadians, along with any others in that time, could remain in Chinese detention for an extended duration.
Some politicians such as former NDP party leader Tom Mulcair have questioned the current extradition request, given President Donald Trump’s comments regarding the release of Wanzhou if a trade deal is reached between the United States and China.
While intriguing, Mr. Mulcair’s answer appears to ignore the stark contrast between how Canada and China have acted respectively.
Canada has received credible information linking Huawei to the breaking of international sanctions. In Canada, Wanzhou has had access to world class lawyers, and has lived comfortably under house arrest while her extradition request goes through the proper legal channels.
Canadians have been given near to no access to lawyers, been brutally interrogated for hours at a time, are technically being tortured, and in the worst case having their sentences changed – years after sentencing, just to threaten the life of a Canadian citizen.
With the Chinese government clearly laying out their willingness to intimidate and kill, Mr. Mulcair, an individual who once led a party clearly against the death penalty, might want to change his answer.
For the rest of us? We may just want to stay in Canada for the foreseeable future.
What do you think? Join the conversation by commenting below!
The political party one chooses is not a matter of being right or wrong. I see it more as a matter of the values you hold, and it isn’t as simple as saying that one value is right or wrong.
John Stuart Mill said in his essay “On Liberty” that many pairs of values are in tension without one “right” or “wrong” value. He gives the examples of individualism and collectivism, liberty and restraint, etc. Most people cannot hold both values in equal measure and give them their due, and nor can a political party. We need political parties of opposing values to represent things like the free market as opposed to the value of government intervention, or personal responsibility versus assisting the marginalized, among many others.
Your ideology and political party is not about holding the right values, but rather about the perspective from which you search for the truth. The Liberal Party of Canada will never see the value of the free market as clearly as a true conservative, and the Conservative Party will likely have a blindspot for areas where government intervention is justified and beneficial.
Therefore, Canada needs a strong Conservative Party. We need it to make the case for the free market, individual responsibility, and to question movements of “social progress” before we test the depth of the water with both feet. Conservatism plays a role of restraint, of sober second thought, and of understanding the benefit that a free market can bring.
Under Andrew Scheer, the Conservative Party isn’t playing its role. In politics, there’s a time to lead and a time to listen. Scheer has almost exclusively been listening. He hasn’t been a leader who confidently pitches a conservative vision and conservative solutions to Canada. Instead he’s relied on polling data to see which policies would be readily accepted by enough people to give him a slim advantage in the polls.
There’s a big problem with the Conservative Party leader not leading: Canada generally isn’t a conservative country. We tend to trust our government not to abuse power. We tend to think that government intervention can accomplish a lot of good. Without an articulate Conservative Party leader, we will not naturally produce conservative solutions and roll back graft and government getting too big.
The lack of a Conservative voice under Scheer harms us when we’re trying to solve the big issues of our time, because a conservative perspective is valuable to solving the big issues even if you’re a non-conservative.
Let’s take climate change as an example. How much value are we losing in the fight against climate change by not having Conservatives at the table? Every prominent voice speaks only of government solutions. We need people who understand the benefit government can bring to a huge issue like this.
But think of the possibilities of adding free market solutions to government intervention. Think of the benefit of having a strong voice for nuclear power, revenue neutrality in the carbon tax, and private sector innovation for climate change. It’s not an either-or issue solution when it comes to climate change.
But under Scheer’s leadership, these solutions either aren’t talked about, or they’re given lip service.
Think of the possibilities of addressing poverty with a Conservative voice at the table. Trudeau has contributed to poverty reduction with the Canada Child Benefit, which provides a monthly lump sum to parents (though I note that this initiative does not only target people in poverty).
What is the conservative value-added to the debate on poverty reduction? I would suggest that it’s the understanding of incentives and personal responsibility. A perfect example is the centre-right BC Liberal Party, which introduced the Single Parent Initiative in 2015. The Initiative provided single parents a way out of poverty by paying for the parent’s tuition payments for training and childcare for their dependants, all while keeping their social assistance cheque. It wasn’t just a handout. It was a fundamentally conservative policy.
Scheer never made any bold proposals like this. For affordability, Scheer did a mix of targeted tax credits providing minimal relief along with simple handouts that could have just as easily been proposed by the Liberal Party, like making EI parental leave benefits tax-free. Stephen Harper provided more leadership by proposing that parents getting EI parental leave could earn self-employment income without having their benefits clawed back. Recognizing the incentives that could get someone back to work is a conservative skill.
We can also consider the value of Conservatives on social issues. People with dangerous amounts of self-certainty are quick to sneer that you shouldn’t be on the wrong side of history, but there have been times when the forces of “social progress” ended up being complete nonsense. Forced sterilization of certain groups of people in order to improve the human race comes to mind.
The problem is, we can’t really know which progressive movements are the “right side of history” without hindsight. Conservatives can provide second thought and value for how things have traditionally been done. We don’t thoughtlessly dismiss the past.
We need that restraint in the topics of social progress today. Laws like Bill C-16 have restricted people’s freedom to speak out on the topic of gender identity. The law passed with nary a peep from the formal Conservative Party. Conservatives, fresh off of realizing that they had the wrong side of the legal marriage debate, seem reticent to weigh in on this social issue and defend the civil liberties of people who question gender identity ideology, even when most common sense people would want them to do this.
Now, people who are far from conservative, like feminist Meghan Murphy, are seemingly alone in their fight against gender identity ideology and standing up for civil rights.
Imagine the assistance that an articulate Conservative leader could bring to this debate that’s happening outside of our formal political scene. We don’t know, because Andrew Scheer never talks about this issue in public. It’s too divisive for him.
Without Conservatives at the table, our society is going all-in on one side of the ideological spectrum. We’re abandoning one side of the ideological tug of war that’s healthy for a society, and that could result in our country going over the edge of a cliff. We’re losing solutions that matter to the issues you care about.
It’s not just that the Conservative Party that deserves better. Canada deserves better. Canada deserves strong Conservatives.
The two parties that both separately can hold the balance of power in the Liberal’s minority government had very different takes on Thursday’s Throne speech when they responded on Friday.
While the separatist Bloc Quebecois stood in defence of Quebec’s autonomy, the New Democrats assumed their traditional role as defenders of the poor and marginalized.
Bloc leader Yves-Francois Blanchet took particular issue that the speech lumped Quebec in with provinces and territories as one of “the regions of Canada.”
“Let’s make something clear. Quebec is not a region of Canada. Quebec is the land that the Quebec nation shares with a number of First Nations,” Blanchet told the House of Commons, reminding MPs of his party’s raison d’etre.
“Although we may not be aiming specifically for this… Quebecers know that the Bloc is a party based on the concept of independence.”
Blanchet also said that in defending Quebec’s autonomy on matters of healthcare and environmental assessments, “The Bloc is not only representing the national assembly of Quebec but also the voices of the other provinces.”
The separatist party leader also said that Quebec voters turned to his party “because they can’t identify with any federal party.”
“They’re not all sovereigntists, but they’re nationalists,” he said.
Bloc support at the polls tripled their seat count (10-32) in the Commons while the number of NDP candidates were nearly cut in half, from 40 down to 24.
New Democrat leader Jagmeet Singh, whose enclave was relegated to fourth party status after October’s election in a Bloc-surge, accused Liberals for “profiting off student debt” while waiving government loans to corporations.
Singh was also skeptical about the Throne speech’s promise to lower the cost of telecommunications services by 25 percent.
“In Canada we pay…some of the highest cellphone and internet fees in the world. It’s not a coincidence because the government has allowed the telecoms to do this,” said Singh.
“Access to the internet is not a luxury, it’s a necessity…(and) the cost of cell phone and internet services are impeding people in their everyday lives.”
Affordable and available housing, as well as making good on a national pharmacare plan that consecutive Liberal governments have paid lip service to, also formed Singh’s response to the Throne speech.
“Across Canada people are making difficult choices every day, about cutting their pills in half or going without the life-saving medication that they need,” he said.
“What is it going to take for the Prime Minister to keep his word and to deliver pharmacare that covers all Canadians?”
The New Democrat leader also suggested that Trudeau talked the talk on indigenous reconciliation, which also prominently featured in the Throne speech, but that the government’s actions fell short of walking the walk.
“I can’t wrap my head around it,” said Singh. “(They) ignore a human rights tribunal ruling, delay the funding to end the discrimination and continue to take indigenous to court.”
At the beginning of October, the federal government filed for judicial review of a Canadian Human Rights tribunal ruling ordering $40,000 in compensation to First Nations children taken from their communities under the on-reserve child welfare system.
A recent study by Statistics Canada revealed that Alberta has lost 18,000 jobs in November alone. The decline in jobs was across numerous industries but was affected most in wholesale and retail trade, according to the Labour Force Survey.
Total employment had seen little dramatic change over the past decade. The unemployment rate rose by 0.5 percent to 7.2 percent as early as August but has since rebounded to 6.6 percent in September and 6.7 percent in October according to StatsCan.
This isn’t just affecting Alberta alone, across the country 38,400 full-time jobs and 32,800 part-time jobs were lost in November. Canada’s overall unemployment rate went up 0.4 percent since October being the biggest one-month hike since 2009.
Manufacturing employment hasn’t been as affected over the past years but the natural resources sector saw about 25,000 lost jobs or 7.2 percent. Alberta and British Columbia taking the biggest hit. British Columbia lost 18,000 jobs in November.
The services-producing sector had a decrease in employment of about 25, 000 workers primarily in Ontario, Quebec and Alberta this November. Men between 25 to 54 and women aged 55 and older were most affected.
Calgary’s housing market is showing the fallout of this increase in unemployment. A decline of 2.2 per cent for the average new home since July 2018 according to the New Housing Price Index.
Jim Sparrow, a long-time realtor in Calgary told the CBC that “the resale prices have been falling for almost five years since the price of oil fell. We’ve sold fewer detached single family homes year to date than we did last year.” said Sparrow.
Even with the decline in prices, it’s the slowest year in Calgary real estate in 23 years. This has led to a decrease in the building of new homes as well.
“Buyers are really hard to find these days for homes in pretty much any price range,” said Sparrow.
Sparrow feels the oil and gas industries are struggling and is the reason for the downward shift in Calgary’s housing market.
“There’s a lot of people that aren’t impacted by the price of oil. But ultimately, I think they will be because Calgary still runs on oil and gas,” he said.
Calgary Real Estate Board chief economist Ann-Marie Lurie told the CBC, “When you take this many people out of the industry … they have no choice but to leave the province if they want to make a living.
“I don’t think we’re going to have any dramatic change in demand next year unless there’s a shift in economic conditions.” she said.
Moncton resident Martin Ahern has given his own take on Christmas this year with a display that has captured the attention of many.
First, Ahern spent a large portion of his time designing a soaring tree displaying thousands of separate programmable lights that was situated among other impressive displays.
“I was the average person who put up a few strings of lights, and for some reason I started to add little things here and there,” said Ahern to Global News.
These displays were just the beginning for Ahern who had something even more impressive up his sleeve.
“People are kind of shocked and amazed to see it,” He said
In his backyard, Ahern has put together his own 16-foot replica of the Enterprise from Star Trek. Ahern noted that the almost perfect scale replica had taken him eight months to build.
“I tried to program it close to the original with the original colours,” Ahern noted. “The saucer is in four sections and everything comes apart because you can’t build that all in one piece in the house.”
Ahern paid great attention to detail and constructed the ship using duct tape and wood. “You can’t have Christmas without Star Trek right?” he said, “It’s gratifying to see that people appreciate it.”
Children in the neighbourhood called him neighbour of the year for his impressive devotion to his Christmas creations
Ahern is inspired to take his displays to another level next year following the support that he’s received from the neighbourhood.