This will add to growing concerns about how the political establishment is potentially being influenced by China.
While Justin Trudeau and the Liberal government continue their efforts to betray Canadian workers by seeking a “free trade” deal with China (despite a failed trip), three Conservative senators are now facing an ethics investigation after their own trip to China.
As reported by the Globe & Mail, “The Senate ethics watchdog is investigating an all-expenses-paid junket to China by three Conservative senators and their spouses to determine whether it should have been declared as a gift or sponsored travel. Chinese media have reported that Senator Victor Oh and two Senate colleagues – Don Plett and Leo Housakos – travelled to China in April, 2017, at the invitation of a Beijing-based wealth management firm that recently opened up an office in Vancouver.”
The trip – which included Beijing and Fujian province – “was not disclosed to the Senate Ethics Office as either sponsored travel or a gift.” As a result, Senator Andre Pratte (Independent), called for an investigation after a previous news report.
The latest report notes that explanations for the trip have been contradictory. First, the trip was said to be paid for by China “and a trade group based in Canada,” then it was said to have been paid for by “two Canadian-Chinese associations.” But strangely, Leo Housakos “could not remember their names.”
Then, Victor Oh said his family covered the cost of the trip, and was “to visit his ancestral home in Fujian province.”
However, “Mr. Oh, a Toronto businessman named to the upper chamber by Stephen Harper, did not mention in the e-mail that he was in China at the invitation of Pantheon Asset, a Chinese firm whose website says it is involved in the management of “high-net-worth families” seeking a safe place to put their money.”
Notably, Senator Oh has said Pantheon did not pay for the trip, and Senator Plett has since reportedly disclosed all info about the trip to China.
Concerns about influence from China
A concerning part comes later in the report, noting “Mr. Oh and Senator Yuen Pau Woo, the new leader of the largest block of Independent senators, have spoken out against a motion from Conservative Senator Thanh Hai Ngo that calls on Canada to oppose China’s aggressive moves in the disputed South China Sea.”
So, it appears some Canadian senators are taking a political position in favour of what China’s authoritarian government would want, which is quite disturbing.
Overall, this story is nowhere near the problem-level of the Trudeau government’s pathetic weakness towards China. After all, the Conservatives have clearly spoken out against Trudeau letting China buy up sensitive Canadian national security companies, and Andrew Scheer has said he opposes Trudeau’s push for a “free trade” deal with China.
That said, there is growing concern in Canada about whether our broader political establishment (including all political parties), is being influenced by the government of China and organizations connected to it.
That’s why the conflicting explanations surrounding the trip, and the report of an ethics investigation raise legitimate questions that Canadians deserve to have answered.
Canada’s political establishment must be brought under the control of the Canadian people, and that means stamping out any sign that the government is serving foreign interests instead of working for Canadians.
To ensure their credibility in criticizing Trudeau’s dangerous attitude towards China, the Conservatives need to make sure they are standing only for Canadian citizens and are not allowing influence from China or any other country to alter their policies.