(TibetanReview.net, Sep19’21) – China has reacted with anger at Canada’s opposition Conservative Party leader Erin O’Toole and his party’s vow to take a much tougher position against China ahead of the country’s Sep 20 election. O’toole’s party platform mentioned the Chinese government 31 times — none of them favourably, noted the voanews.com Sep 19.
This contrasted with the platform of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s ruling Liberal Party, which mentioned China only once in spite of simmering tensions over the detention of a high-profile Chinese executive in Vancouver and China’s arrests of two Canadians, the report said.
The Conservatives’ promises were stated to include withdrawal from the Beijing-led Asian Infrastructure Bank, reduction of any of Canada’s dependence on China, and ban on Chinese technology company Huawei from having anything to do with Canadian 5G networks.
The Conservative platform also levelled criticism at Chinese policy on matters of trade, the environment, territorial Arctic claims and relations with Taiwan.
China’s ambassador to Canada has expressed Beijing’s opposition to what he has called the “smearing” of his country. And the Chinese state media have said if the Conservatives were to form a government, implementing the platform would “invite counterstrikes.”
However, the report cited Stewart Prest, a political scientist at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, as saying the Conservatives took the same approach years ago, but when they actually formed a government after a previous election, they watered down their criticisms of China.
The report cited him as expecting the Conservatives, if elected this time, to do the same thing.
But Paul Evans, of the School of Public Policy and Global Affairs at the University of British Columbia, was reported to believe that the Conservatives, if elected, would try to implement their platform.
. “There’s a lot of thought that has gone into it. And a lot of calculation about the right way to approach a more repressive and assertive China,” he has said.
Evans has said the obvious preference for the Chinese government would be for the Liberals and Trudeau to be reelected.
Latest opinion polls show the two-sides to be in a close race, with the Conservatives narrowing the Gap with the Liberals who had an initial lead.