Canadians Micheal Spavor and Michael Kovrig received consular visits from Foreign Affairs officials on Monday according to the department. It was Kovrig’s tenth such visit and Spavor’s ninth since the pair were detained separately last December by authorities in China.
Their arrests came nine days after Canadian official arrested Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou as she was transiting through Vancouver International Airport on December 1, 2018.
A former national security adviser to the prime minister told military officials that Canada’s perception of the threats posed by Russia and China need to be clearly recognized, especially as the United States shifts towards a more isolationist economy, reports the CBC.
“The risks posed by these two countries are certainly different, but they are generally based on advancing all their interests to the detriment of the West,” said Richard Fadden, former national security adviser to Prime Ministers Justin Trudeau and Stephen Harper.
“Their activities span the political, military and economic spheres.”
Fadden, who also served as head of CSIS and as deputy defence minister, made the comments at the annual Vimy Ridge Dinner in Ottawa.
Russia and China have both shown a willingness to “use virtually any means to attain their goals,” while the U.S. has shown at various instances that it’s willing to withdraw from global trade.
The rise of American isolationism, Fadden says, means Canada will need to seek new avenues in addressing global crises without the United States, and instead, with other allies.
But in order to do so, Fadden says, Canada needs to recognize drastic changes that have occurred on the world stage over the last decade.
Canada should “recognize our adversaries for what they are, recognize we have to deal with them, but draw clear limits to what we will accept,” he said.
According to Fadden, Ottawa and our federal leaders need to recognize that the post-Cold War world order “with comprehensive U.S. leadership is gone, and is not coming back in the form we knew.”
While serving as CSIS director years ago, Fadden noted the rise of Chinese influence throughout Canadian municipal and provincial politics.
“The West does not have its act together as much as it could and should,” said Fadden.
Fadden echoed similar sentiment as former U.S. national security advisor Susan Rice, who recently told the CBC that she believed Huawei phones, made by a company who American officials believe is puppeteered by the Chinese communist party, posed a major threat to national security.
“It’s hard for me to emphasize adequately, without getting into classified terrain, how serious it is, particularly for countries involved in the Five Eyes,” said Rice explaining the severity of the threat, while suggested the signals intelligence alliance (Five Eyes) between U.S., Canada, UK, New Zealand and Australia would be put into serious jeopardy if Canada went ahead with Huawei 5G.
Fadden also pointed out that radicalization was occurring beyond the confines of Islam and violent right-wing terrorism has become a growing concern.
“Right-wing terrorism is growing and, like its cousin jihadist terrorism, it is a globalized threat,” he said. “We will ignore it at our peril.”
It’s day 334 of detention for Canadians Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig, held captive by China in apparent retaliation for Canada’s arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou in December 2018.
Meng’s wanted in the United States for charges related to the Chinese tech-giant’s violation of U.S. sanctions against Iran, allegedly conducting business with the rogue Islamist state through a front company in Hong Kong.
Shortly after U.S. President Donald Trump’s inauguration in 2017, he withdrew the United States from the ‘Iran nuclear deal’, favouring sanctions and sabre rattling to prevent Iran from enriching uranium and building nuclear weapons.
Caught between two economic and military superpowers, Canada got a bit of reprieve this week, at least our pig farmers did, after China lifted its embargo on Canadian pork while similar, retaliatory prohibitions remain for our canola and beef.
If these problems weren’t enough, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s previous government delayed a decision whether to allow Huawei 5G technology onto our domestic telecommunications network – the United States has already banned it over national security concerns.
During a CBC interview aired Monday with Susan Rice, the former U.S. national security advisor to President Barack Obama echoed these concerns and said Huawei 5G presented a clear and present danger.
“It’s hard for me to emphasize adequately, without getting into classified terrain, how serious it is, particularly for countries involved in the Five Eyes,” said Rice who explained threat, then suggested the signals intelligence alliance (Five Eyes) between U.S., Canada, UK, New Zealand and Australia would be jeopardized if Canada went ahead with Huawei 5G.
Huawei isn’t the only company that can provide 5G, purportedly capable of 10 gigabytes-per-second of data transfer that can activate a Bluetooth ‘internet of things’ world where all gadgets are operable via smartphone.
But Huawei’s current proliferation in the marketplace and its ties with the Chinese Communist Party, as The Post Millennial previously reported, raise questions about why the Trudeau government dithers on this national security front.
“It gives the China the ability, if they choose to use it, to access all kinds of information, civilian intelligence, military, that could be very, very compromising. As much as I disagree with the Trump administration on a number of things, on this their concern about Huawei, I believe they’re right.”
Rice went on to say that if Canada were to allow the technology on its telecom infrastructure that would forever change the security relationship between our countries.
“That would put the security collaboration which serves the security interests of every Canadian and every American, into jeopardy,” Rice said. “It can’t be done. I don’t see how we can share (intelligence) in the way we have. It’s not a joke. It’s truly serious.”
National security concerns about Huawei 5G are not new – New Zealand and Australia have followed America’s lead, while UK and Canada dither – despite warnings from intelligence experts, and now the former U.S. national security advisor.
Adding more complications to the diplomatic mess, and the Trudeau government’s inability to make a decision on Huawei 5G – one Rice’s interview indicates should be a no-brainer – is the extent to which Huawei has wormed its way into Canadian university research, and the money mainland China students pay to attend post-secondary here.
According to internal documents from the University of British Columbia obtained by National Post, after Meng’s arrest, faculty and administrators were more worried about losing Chinese students, related Huawei research deals and estranging faculty from China, than national security or the university’s integrity.
Huawei research sponsorship at UBC is currently worth $9.5 million and mainland China students make up nearly 10 percent of total enrolment at the university; 5,717 or approximately one-third of all international students at the school.
In the day’s following Meng’s arrest as she was transiting through Vancouver International Airport, teachers and admin contemplated a PR strategy to combat commentary in media critical of Canadian universities’ relations with Huawei.
On December 10, the same day Kovrig and Spavor were arrested in China – the pair have since been accused of espionage – Paul Evans, an Asia expert at UBC’s public policy school wrote colleagues proposing they decide whether to be “proactive or reactive” to events that could impact research cash or students from the communist regime.
Canada’s lack of strong unifying national feeling has been on display in many ways, as the country continues to fall apart following years of “post-national” governance by the Trudeau Liberals and rampant disrespect towards the west.
And, in another example of how Canada seems unable to muster up any meaningful unifying patriotism lately, consider how little ongoing outrage there is over the fact that Canadian citizens Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor are still being arbitrarily jailed in Communist China, with almost nobody even mentioning it anymore and no retaliation from the federal government.
Politicians are mostly silent on it.
The business community has little to say, except that they want more trade deals with China.
And the government itself has taken no retaliatory measures, not even something as simple as banning Huawei from the country.
At this point, it seems we need to realize that Canada’s corporate and political elites simply don’t care about the fact that two Canadian citizens are being held in China in terrible conditions.
There’s too much money to be made in China, so any sense of national loyalty or patriotism is going out the window.
Of course, the politicians and corporations would actually find a lot of support among Canadians if they took strong action against China. Recent surveys show up to 90 percent of Canadians have a negative view of Communist China’s government.
However, Canada’s elites are so averse to anything even close to nationalism and patriotism that the idea of bringing Canadians together on behalf of our fellow citizens against an authoritarian government is simply unthinkable.
Unfortunately, the underlying disloyalty and greed of the elites is playing a big role in breaking our country apart and weakening our nation. If Canada ends up becoming nothing more than a bunch of enraged regions with no connection to each other, no sense of national patriotism and identity, no willingness to stand up for our jailed citizens, and profit-seeking in foreign countries as our only guiding principle, do you really think Canada will survive?
So, while some may see Kovrig and Spavor as “just two people,” their imprisonment in China and the weak response in Canada to their increasingly darkening fate is a sign of a far deeper malaise and weakness within our nation. And that weakness may endanger everything Canadians have fought and built together.
During his recent press conference following his election win, Justin Trudeau was asked about dealing with Communist China, including efforts to free Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, and whether he would take any retaliatory measures.
As usual, Trudeau passed up the opportunity to show strength, and failed to bring Canadians together in opposition to Communist China.
Instead, he uttered a bunch of empty platitudes which meant nothing.
Again and again, Trudeau shows total cowardice towards Communist China, and it appears that is set to continue.
The recent federal election would have been an opportunity to apply pressure to the federal leaders on China, but Trudeau skipped the foreign policy debate, and the Conservatives—despite having tougher policies towards China—didn’t make it much of an issue, and didn’t seize the opportunity to take on the “Captain Canada” mantle.
As a result, there has been no marshalling of Canadian public opinion in opposition towards China, no added pressure for our Citizens to be freed, and no retaliation.
The consequence of this—and the apparent continuation of Trudeau’s cowardly approach—is that China, and other potential opponents of our country, will be further emboldened to mistreat our country.
After all, China has been able to get away with their mistreatment of our country while facing no consequences from Canada. The government hasn’t even banned Huawei, which would be among the simplest of things they could do to send a message.
So, why would China or anyone else think twice before treating our country like garbage?
Contrast this to the US, where Mike Pence just gave a speech that slammed China, and ripped US companies that are subservient to the Communist State. The Trump Administration has—whether you like the other things they do or not – been far tougher on China than any Western government in decades.
And for those who argue that Canada doesn’t have the “size” to push back against China, the reality is that our economy is not dependent on trading with China, and a combination of government assistance for producers, expanded interprovincial trade, and trade deals with new markets could soften any blow that comes from decoupling or distancing our economy from the authoritarian Communist State.
But none of that will happen until Trudeau shows some guts and courage, and until the opposition is willing to make China a big deal with the Canadian people.
In other words, don’t hold your breath.