Tories Seek to Revive Special Committee on Canada-China Relations

Tories Seek to Revive Special Committee on Canada-China Relations
Conservative MP Michael Chong rises during Question Period in the House of Commons in Ottawa on May 31, 2021. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)
Noé Chartier

The House of Commons is debating today a motion put forward by the Conservative Party to revive the special committee on Canada-China relations after the party said at the beginning of the new Parliament it wouldn’t pursue it due to resource issues.

Tory MP and foreign affairs critic Michael Chong tabled the motion which says the committee needs to be re-established given the “immeasurable contributions” made by Canadians of Chinese descent, the importance of China’s ancient civilization to humanity, the distinction between the Chinese people and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), and the increasing threat posed by authoritarian states like China.

The committee’s mandate would be to “review all aspects of the Canada-People’s Republic of China relationship, including but not limited to diplomatic, consular, legal, security and economic relations,” says the text of the motion tabled May 10.
In December, Chong had said the China committee would not be immediately pursued in the new Parliament due to the creation of two new House committees that were stretching party resources thin.

Those committees are the Standing Committee on Science and Research and the Special Committee on Afghanistan, which examines Canada’s involvement in that country in the lead-up to its capture by the Taliban.

Chong’s motion says that an organizational meeting of the proposed China committee would take place one week after the presentation of the final report of the Afghanistan committee.

Tories’ earlier decision to not immediately call for the resumption of the China committee after the 2021 election was criticized by several Conservative MPs, with some speaking to media publicly about their concerns. Following the media reports in January, Chong said his party’s stance on China remained unchanged and they would be bringing the committee back.

Tory interim leader Candice Bergen commented on the prospects of bringing back the China committee in an interview on May 9 with The Epoch Times.

She said there are currently many international issues requiring Canada’s attention, including Ukraine and energy security, but this shouldn’t prevent the government from looking closer at China.

“Conservatives want to see that [Canada-China] relationship talked about and explored and see it be a positive relationship, but at the same time, we want to call out the things that the Communist Party of China is doing that are hurting the people of China, but also could potentially be a threat to Canada,” she said, mentioning Huawei, foreign interference, and the Uyghur genocide.

“So there are many, many things that could be discussed and explored at a committee.”