In Canadian Politics, Human Rights

Like a dutiful servant of the global hegemon, Justin Trudeau just announced that Canada will join the United States in staging a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Olympics.

Mr. Trudeau justified his decision on the basis that his government is “extremely concerned” about China’s alleged human rights abuses, particularly against the Uighur people in Xinjiang.

Political reporters should have responded to the Prime Minister’s claim with incredulity.

Predictably, they didn’t. Without a hint of scepticism, the mainstream media readily embraced Mr. Trudeau’s purported justification for joining the boycott.

How do we know that Mr. Trudeau’s official justification for joining the boycott is a smokescreen?

Because the governments of Canada and the United States exhibit contempt for human rights on an almost daily basis.

Let’s consider some recent examples, shall we?

In November, in flagrant violation of the Universal Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, heavily armed RCMP officers arrested twenty-nine, unarmed land defenders on unceded Wet’suwet’en lands. Those arrested included photojournalist Amber Bracken, who was on assignment for news outlet The Narwhal, and documentary filmmaker Michael Toledano. Following the arrests, three land defenders revealed that they were transported by the RCMP in cages about the size of a dog kennel and were forced to appear before a judge in their long underwear and put in hand and ankle cuffs, even though none of them was armed when arrested.

On December 2, the Trudeau government issued a statement highlighting Canada’s “strategic partnership”with the U.A.E. In Yemen, a military coalition led by the U.A.E. and Saudi Arabia has killed thousands of civilians in airstrikes, tortured detainees, raped civilians and used child soldiers as young as eight years.

Not only does the Trudeau government maintain a “strategic partnership” with the U.A.E., it also sells billions of dollars-worth of deadly weapons to the Saudi autocracy, a tyrannical regime that oppresses women and murders journalists.

Meanwhile, at the United Nations, the Trudeau government has continued in recent weeks to vote against broadly supported resolutions condemning Israel’s abuses of Palestinian human rights. Earlier this year, U.S.-based Human Rights Watch joined with Israeli human rights groups B’Tselem and Yesh Din in accusing Israel of committing apartheid, the second-worst crime against humanity after genocide. None of this has diminished Justin Trudeau’s enthusiastic support for the state of Israel, nor has it prompted the U.S. government to suspend billions of dollars of military aid to Israel.

On November 3, the U.S. government admitted that the last U.S. drone strike before American troops withdrew from Afghanistan killed 10 civilians, including seven children. The Trudeau government expressed no ‘concern’ about this atrocity.

Days later, a New York Times investigation revealed that the U.S. military had covered up a 2019 airstrike in which it bombed a large crowd of women and children in Syria, murdering dozens. Again, the Trudeau government express zero ‘concern’ about the massacre.

Of course, these crimes in no way excuse human rights abuses committed by America’s official enemies.

There are, indeed, compelling reasons to be concerned about the Chinese government’s treatment of the Uighur people, and if the evidence establishes that the PRC is abusing their rights, then the PRC must be condemned, and every peaceful effort must be made to hold it accountable and end its human rights abuses.

What is happening in Xinjiang, however, is far from clear.

In January of this year, attorneys from the U.S. State Department advised the Trump administration that there was insufficient evidence to prove China is committing genocide. Trump nonetheless accused China of genocide on the last day of his Presidency.

At two separate meetings of the UN Human Rights Council in 2019 and 2020, letters condemning Chinese conduct in Xinjiang were outvoted, 22-50 and 27-46. The countries which joined in condemning China’s treatment of the Uighurs were overwhelmingly Western states that are closely allied to the United States, whereas those who defended China’s record included predominantly Muslim states, a number of which had sent representatives to Xinjiang in order to observe conditions there.

The 46th Human Rights Council Session in March 2021 saw no joint statements condemning Chinese policy in Xinjiang, while a joint statement in support garnered the signatures of 64 countries, with more than 80 countries supporting the Chinese position.

Finally, the ‘scholarship’ of Adrian Zenz, a far-right Christian fundamentalist who has led a campaign in the West to charge China with genocide against the Uighur people, has been largely discredited.

At the end of the day, further independent investigation of the human rights situation in Xinjiang is plainly warranted.

In the interim, we Canadians deserve to know the true reasons for which our government has repeatedly adopted a belligerent posture toward China. Again and again, Canada’s government has invoked human rights to mask its true foreign policy objectives. The time has come to end its cynical misuse of human rights so that Canadians can have an honest and fact-based discussion about our government’s real geopolitical agenda.

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  • Philip Suthons

    It is unfortunate that people continue to protest the pipeline in BC. It detracts from the other legitimate issues, like the oppression of Palestinians and the war in Yemen. Wetsuwetin people want the pipeline. The protestors are mostly white ideologues.

    • Peter D'Gama

      Philip Suthons yours is a pathetic response. Struggles of Wetsuwetin, Palestinians and war against Yemen are linked. I have attended a Wetsuwetin solidarity rail blockade and Palestinian Solidarity actions in Toronto. Both these actions had more than 200 people. Anticolonial and and struggles against settler state are linked.

    • Lynn Taylor

      As a settler in BC I am acutely aware of the struggle over the CGL pipeline through unceded Wetsuwetin territory. The Supreme Court has recognized hereditary chiefs as the rightful spokespersons for Indigenous Peoples. Band Chiefs are a construct of the Indian Act, created to speak on behalf of government policy on reserves. As band chiefs are desperate to access funding for their people, some have made contracts with CGL. They have had to sign non-disclosure agreements so we are barred from knowing what compromises they have had to agree to. However, they do not speak for the Wetsuwetin Nation as a whole.
      Hereditary chiefs do not support the CGL pipeline through their unceded territory and have the support of many nations across the country. The BC government has directed the RCMP to “use whatever means necessary” to remove protesters and recent videos confirm the use of chainsaws and weapons. First Nations protesters have been singled out for harsh and degrading treatment. They have been shackled and brought to court in their underwear and forced into dog kennels in the back of RCMP vehicles.
      Many white settlers here support the BC government’s legal obligations under UNDRIP as it was signed into law. The use of government funded and directed RCMP forces to protect this pipeline on behalf of private industry is not what is meant by “free, prior and informed consent.”

  • Bassim

    I agree, this has nothing to do with human rights. If we cared about human rights, we would be acting against many other nations, and change our own behaviour here at home, as you mentioned above. But more telling is that whatever China is doing against the Uighurs, they have been doing for a decade, and we did nothing. This is purely geo-political.

  • Don Scott

    Agreed that the Canadian statement seems a bit inadequate and symbolic, but China uses symbolism all the time and is most upset when a symbolic act is taken against them. A few weeks ago I spoke with one of Canada’s most distinguished former ambassadors and I questioned whether we should be even sending a team to the Olympics after the treatment of the two Michael. He was very quick to respond that we made a deal with the Chinese, and they respected their side of the bargain. In diplomatic terms, that was a deal – we let Meng Wanzhou return and the two Michaels were handed over to Canadian officials and allowed to return to Canada. The whole thing was a three ring circus, we should never have respected an American extra-territorial law and held her in the first place, and why it took the court system almost three years to “almost” come to a decision is beyond me – speculation is that the Court would have ruled against further detention, (which would have meant Meng’s release without a deal to release the two Michael’s and we’ll never know what China would have done without her release being part of a personnel swap) – but all that will forever be speculation.
    From what I understand from numerous media (granted Western, but they’re not all bad) China’s human rights record is pathetic for virtually all its minorities. Tibet, Monguls, not to mention the Uighurs, are all treated horribly and China appears to have policies to ship Chinese into the regions to overwhelm the local population with Chinese residents. Cultural annihilation seems to be their goal. Hong Kong is now being treated similarly. Their now CP dominated courts have just sentenced the newspaper owner to a long prison sentence for “inciting” the people by questioning the government’s intentions.
    UN bodies do not have a great record in dealing with big powerful nations, or nations that are protected by one or more big powerful nations. China has become one of those nations and it is throwing around its weight just like the Americans and Brits and Russians have in the past and continue to do today. A major problem for the UN’s legitimacy, but it is the only international organization of stature we have so we have to work with it and see what we can do to reduce the ability of powerful states to intimidate and buy off lesser nations – including the Canada’s of the world.
    As for the Wetsuewetin and the Coastal Link Gas pipeline, let me begin by saying I don’t support the development of a LNG industry in Canada, which is what this pipeline facilitates. The Wetsuewetin are as divided in this matter as the rest of us are. the democratically elected Band Council has supports it. When a “hereditary” chief supported it, she was replaced as hereditary chief with a much younger fellow who opposed it. If we are going to recognize as equal governments these revised bodies of “hereditary” chiefs and councils, then what does that say about our ability to govern our country let alone our provinces. I’m out of step with the politically correct, but I’m really upset over our new GPC leader denigrating the legitimacy of our country and province by referring to them as “so called Canada” and “so called BC”. She would apparently forsake the country for some unknown and quite unproven system of law that has suddenly emerged in some folks minds as a replacement for our Common and Parliamentary system of laws, which has about a thousand years of evolutionary history behind it. Seems she’s targeting the 2% of the population that voted Green this past election.
    We can’t simply rely on Indigenous people to stop pipelines and deforestation. It has to be broader and with their integrated participation but it is naive in the extreme to think that turning over our governance and court structure to hereditary system is going to make the country greener or more governable.

    • Ken jeannotte

      Lot of paternalistic assumptions there Don.

  • Виктор Родин

    Quotes: “Dimitri Laskaris Published December 9, 2021 in Canadian Politics, Human Rights 2.”
    “As an obedient servant of the global hegemon, Justin Trudeau has just announced that Canada will join the United States in carrying out a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Olympics.”
    “Mr. Trudeau based his decision on the fact that his government is ‘extremely concerned’ about alleged human rights violations in China, especially against Uighurs in Xinjiang.”
    I am an active environmentalist, the leader of a group of seven environmental engineers – and we, as always, are out of politics.
    I am informing the Canadian leadership of the list of works that we will carry out with our managers and work teams:
    First. Production of drinking and irrigation water, cooled by 1.2-1.5 degrees Celsius, and its replenishment of rivers, reservoirs and groundwater. This will provide protection from droughts, increase productive land and pasture in Canada, and ensure its food security.
    Second. Protection, restoration, and growth of forests due to the planting of new afforestation. This will improve the quality of water, air, and food, and keep Canada green.
    And the third. Through the production and sale of water and hydrogen in Canada itself and beyond, we will continuously support the growth of Canada’s GDP.
    For all our work, we will provide a guarantee for a period of 25 years.
    Plus, many more work will be done.
    Respectfully yours, developer of environmental and economic programs, Victor Rodin. Ukraine. Khmelnytsky NPP. Tel. Kiev Star: 961336344. Mail: [email protected], [email protected].
    — — —
    Цитаты: «Димитри Ласкарис Опубликовано 9 декабря 2021 г. в канадской политике, Права человека 2».
    «Как послушный слуга мирового гегемона, Джастин Трюдо только что объявил, что Канада присоединится к Соединенным Штатам в проведении дипломатического бойкота Олимпийских игр в Пекине».
    «Г-н Трюдо обосновал свое решение тем, что его правительство «чрезвычайно обеспокоено» предполагаемыми нарушениями прав человека в Китае, особенно в отношении уйгуров в Синьцзяне».
    Я – действующий эколог, руководитель группы инженеров-экологов из семи человек – и мы, как всегда, вне политики.
    Я сообщаю руководству Канады перечень работ, которые мы будем выполнять со своими менеджерами и рабочими командами:
    Первое. Производство питьевой и поливной воды, охлаждённой на 1,2-1,5 градуса по Цельсию, и пополнению ею рек, водоёмов и подпочвенных вод. Это обеспечит защиту от засух, прирост продуктивных земель и пастбищ в Канаде, и обеспечит её продовольственную безопасность.
    Второе. Защита, восстановление, и прирост лесов за счёт посадки новых лесонасаждений. Это позволит улучшить качество воды, воздуха, и продуктов питания, и обеспечит Канаде экологическую безопасность.
    И третье. За счёт производства и продаж воды и водорода в самой Канаде и за её пределами – мы будем постоянно поддерживать рост ВВП Канады.
    На все свои работы, мы будем обеспечивать гарантию сроком на 25 лет.
    Плюс, будут выполнены многие другие работы.

  • Philip Suthons

    I’m intrigued why you’re against LNG. It’s providing jobs, education, money and self determination to indigenous people; it’s developing our natural resources; it can be transported safely; it’s cleaner than other fossil fuels and fossil fuels are not going to be replaced quickly (Japan is building dozens of coal-fired plants); if we could transport it, LNG would bolster our foreign relations at a time when most producers are actually adversaries.

  • Lynn Taylor

    Those of us living in BC are suffering environmentally, health wise, and economically from the fracking and burning of gas. In the fracking process over 27 billion litres of fresh water per year are mixed with toxic chemicals and blasted into rock deep below ground. The blasting alone has caused an increase in earthquakes and the water cannot be reclaimed. The Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment has spoken out strongly against fracking as they see an increase in cancer, lung disease and negative pregnancy outcomes in communities near fracking sites. They also state that gas appliances, especially when not vented to the outdoors, emit nitrogen dioxide and methane, which has 86X the warming potential of CO2 over 20 years. You may visit their website for more information. The City of Vancouver has banned all gas in new builds as of next year and encourages heat pumps and induction or electric stoves as alternatives. These large foreign owned oil and gas companies in our north pay little to nothing in royalties and taxes, and only exist with the support of $1.3 billion in government subsidies (5X what they get in royalties). Many here are calling for an end to these subsidies and an investment in clean energy, job retraining and higher building standards. One of the goals of COP26 was to lower methane levels in the atmosphere and the phasing out of gas production is the only way to achieve that here in BC.

  • Philip Suthons

    Thanks for your explanation about natural gas. My understanding is that natural gas in Canada does not employ fracking. I’ll be sure to check that out. Also, I’ve never heard of not venting gas out, except for stove tops.

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