Tuesday (February 23th): Canada’s unapologetic Parliament

Justin Trudeau

Name? Justin Trudeau

Westphalian identity? Canadian

Age? 49

Why is he in the news? Canada’s parliament has passed a non-binding motion that says China’s treatment of its Muslim Uighur minority constitutes genocide. This move mounts even more pressure on Justin Trudeau who is trying to balance relations between the two countries. 

Why do we care? This move is the latest escalation between China and Canada. Both have detained nationals of the other side. A former Canadian diplomat and businessman were detained in China in December of 2018. Shortly after, Canadian authorities arrested a top Huawei executive on an extradition request by the US, where she faces fraud charges. After signing a declaration condemning the political detention of foreign nationals, Canada continues to stand up against the economic powerhouse China.

Why should you care? If one million people from an ethnic minority are detained in camps you should care and form an educated opinion. Are you part of the Trump fraction, calling it a genocide? Do you belong to the Trudeau fraction, abstaining from the vote? Or do you agree with the Chinese government, deeming it necessary to detect extremists? Regardless, you should care 10/10. 

Who else cares? Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin described the move by the Canadian Parliament as one that “disregards facts and common sense.” According to him, these camps provide vocational training and are needed to fight extremism; making it even more difficult for Trudeau to balance business interests with human rights concerns. 

Any further comments? The term genocide is emotionally loaded. While anyone concerned with the wellbeing of the Uighurs can be quick to call the detention a genocide, a person from Rwanda might have a different view on this point. They might see this comparison as undermining the genocide of 1994. We therefore invite you to read the UN definition of genocide, critically review your personal bias, and then decide whether the acts in Xinjiang fall under these criteria.

Joshua Dario Hasenstab

General Coordination Communications