Trudeau government ‘condemning’ China’s sentencing of Michael Spavor to 11 years in prison is meaningless unless it is followed up with something tangible.
In a world where money and power dominate – regardless of whatever politically-correct lies we are told – countries are seen as either pushovers, or as nations to be respected.
It’s not about the size of a country either, since places like Taiwan, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Israel, and more all command influence despite being relatively small in terms of population.
What it really comes down to is attitude.
Does a country demand respect?
Does it earn respect?
Does it stand up for itself?
Unfortunately, the answer to those questions in Canada under Justin Trudeau’s ‘leadership’ is ‘NO.’
During his time in office, Justin Trudeau has demonstrated an appallingly weak and submissive attitude towards Communist China.
He has let China buy up formerly Canadian companies that were integral to our national security, has refrained from criticizing China in most cases, and even spent years seeking to deepen our trade ties with the Communist State, which would further entrench China’s power over this country and increase our dependence on them.
Recently, Trudeau showed total cowardice by refusing to say that China is committing genocide against the Uyghur’s, an omission all the more notable since Trudeau was willing to accuse Canada of committing an ‘ongoing genocide,’ effectively accusing himself of presiding over a genocidal state.
Why is he so willing to denigrate his own country, but unwilling to say anything similar about China?
Michael Spavor sentenced to 11 years in prison
That brings us to China sentencing Canadian Michael Spavor to 11 years in prison.
Spavor, who along with fellow-Canadian Michael Kovrig was imprisoned by China under an obvious pretext following Meng Wanzhou’s arrest, was sentenced to the prison term by a court in Dandong, China.
Here’s what the court said:
“For the crime of spying and illegal provision of state secrets abroad [Spavor] has been sentenced to 11 years in jail, confiscation of 50,000 yuan ($7,715: £5,578) worth of personal property and deportation.”
Diplomats from 25 countries expressed support for Spavor:
“Today the Canadian embassy and 25 countries stand together in solidarity for #MichaelSpavor, arbitrarily detained in China since December 2018.”
— Canada in China (@CanadaChina) August 11, 2021
“China’s conviction and sentencing of Michael Spavor is absolutely unacceptable and unjust.
“The verdict for Mr. Spavor comes after more than two and a half years of arbitrary detention, a lack of transparency in the legal process, and a trial that did not satisfy even the minimum standards required by international law.
“For Mr. Spavor, as well as for Michael Kovrig who has also been arbitrarily detained, our top priority remains securing their immediate release. We will continue working around the clock to bring them home as soon as possible.
“Our thoughts, and the thoughts of all Canadians, are with Mr. Spavor and his loved ones during this incredibly difficult time. The Government of Canada continues to provide consular assistance to Mr. Spavor and his family as we work to secure his safe return.
“I want to thank Canada’s many partners, friends, and allies for their solidarity and support for the release of Mr. Spavor and Mr. Kovrig, and their opposition to the practice of arbitrary detention. We will not rest until they are safely brought home.”
And that’s it.
And then what?
And from Trudeau, there never is a tangible response when it comes to China.
Thus, he fails the basic test of any leader: Understanding human nature and standing up for their country.
He simply doesn’t do it.
Why would China act differently?
As a nation seeking to bully and intimidate others, China will look for the weakest Western nations.
They will then use those nations as examples, and will continue to do so as long as the intimidation seems to get them results.
So, by continually failing to respond with even a shred of strength towards China’s actions, Trudeau incentivizes China to continue targeting Canadians, and thus puts Canadians at further risk.
What should be done?
This is the point where some will say, “it’s easy to criticize, but what do you propose?”
And yet, it would be quite easy for Trudeau to respond with strength.
Here are some things Canada could do to show resolve:
With many of our allies already moving to ban Huawei, Canada could ban the China-state controlled company with ease.
Tariffs on Chinese products
To reduce our dependence on China, and to prevent that dependence from being further entrenched, Canada could impose tariffs on products from China – particularly products that are essential to our core manufacturing and national defense sectors. Yes, this would generate a response from China, but that response would further reduce our economic links to them, which is a win in the long-run.
Foreign homebuyer ban
While this wouldn’t be specifically targeted towards China, it would help ensure more affordable homes for Canadian Citizens, and prevent foreign billionaires/millionaires (many from China), from buying up our housing supply.
Future reduction in foreign students from China
Current foreign students in Canada from China should be treated with respect, and shouldn’t be used in political games.
With that in mind however, going forward Canada could reduce the number of foreign students from China.
The reason to do this is that the more Canadian universities become financially dependent on foreign students from China, the less willing they are to take strong stances for academic freedom, or criticize China. Reversing that trend is essential.
Strengthen our military & join the ‘Quad’
With the United States and Japan increasingly showing a willingness to stand up for Taiwan, and with the Quad (a ‘strategic dialogue’ between the US, Australia, India, and Japan) forming tighter bonds in the face of rising Chinese military spending, Canada should step up.
Our moribund military needs an increase in funding, and it is important we show a willingness to stand with likeminded democratic states. That willingness only has credibility if our military is well-funded and well-equipped.
The steps I’ve mentioned above would demonstrate that Canada is able to stand up for ourselves.
More importantly, it would change the calculus for China, as they would see that the more they attempt to bully Canada, the more we will build up our own strength and work with our allies to strengthen pushback against China’s actions.
Of course, it would take a real leader to make those moves, not a weak and cowardly individual like Justin Trudeau.