In an exclusive email interview with Rebel News, Conservative Party of Canada leader Erin O’Toole added more detail to his position on China-Canada relations.
While stopping short of demanding that Chinese propaganda outlets like Xinhua and the People’s Daily be required to register as foreign agents, O’Toole expressed his disappointment that they have been accredited by Ottawa’s Parliamentary Press Gallery.
O’Toole also vowed to cancel all remaining joint exercises with China’s People’s Liberation Army.
The interview, conducted in late December, came after revelations of an internal political battle between the Canadian Armed Forces and Trudeau’s foreign affairs staff after the CAF decided to cancel a planned cold-weather warfare joint exercise with China. That exercise, which had been held the previous year at CFB Petawawa, was cancelled by the CAF after China kidnapped Canadian citizens Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor. That disagreement was exposed when Global Affairs Canada sent Rebel News a 34-page top secret document about Canada-Chinese military relations, but did not black out sensitive information.
The entire document can be read at TheChinaFiles.com.
“We know that China is not a partner or a friend,” O’Toole told Rebel News.
The entire interview is below.
The China Files show that besides the winter warfare training, there were 17 other CAF-PLA projects in 2019. Would you suspend any of those?
Canada should not be training Chinese soldiers. As Prime Minister, I would cancel any training exercises coordinated with the People’s Liberation Army. Training Chinese military personnel while the Chinese Communist Party holds Canadians hostage and actively spies on and intimidates Canadians at home is dangerous. Canada needs to take a principled approach to foreign policy and stand up to China.
Do you share the U.S. concern that Canada transferred valuable military knowledge to China? If so, what are you worried that China might do with it?
We know that China is not a partner or a friend. The theft of intellectual property, cyberespionage, and influence operations are not an occasional occurrence with China, they are the norm. Knowing they regularly disregard international laws, Canada needs to treat China accordingly.
Do you think that Chinese government news agencies like Xinhua and the People’s Daily should be permitted in the Parliamentary Press Gallery?
It’s disappointing that the People’s Daily is a member of our Parliamentary Press Gallery when members of the Independent Press Gallery have been excluded. While I can’t speak for individual media outlets, during my leadership campaign I committed to full recognition of the Independent Press Gallery and that is something I will continue to champion.
Should those Chinese agencies be required to register as foreign agents in some way, as the U.S. government recently did with Al Jazeera?
Canadians are worried about Chinese influence – and they have received no certainty or clarity for this government. Tomorrow is the deadline for the Trudeau Liberals to table a plan to counter Chinese foreign interference and we hope that we see a plan that will give Canadians confidence that the government will protect our citizens.