(Ottawa) The House of Commons unanimously acknowledges – albeit with the liberal government and prime minister abstaining – that there is a genocide against the Uyghurs in China. A vote on a non-binding proposal puts the liberal government in an awkward position.
The Conservative movement was unanimous in support. 266 elected officials said yes and no one opposed it. All of the liberals, conservatives, blocs, the National Party, the Green Party, and independents who participated in the exercise supported it. In the liberal seats, the movement was amenable to a vote.
The council has 338 deputies, including 154 from the Liberal Allegiance Party.
So it lost 72 votes out of the total number of votes, or 20% of them.
Evidence of the government’s malaise, Justin Trudeau and all of the ministers abstained from the vote, and thus were clear of their absence.
In fact, only Secretary of State, Mark Garneau, spoke during the vote on Monday afternoon. “I am abstaining from voting on behalf of the government of Canada,” he said. The Canadian chief diplomat had defended hours earlier during the interrogation period that the government was very concerned about “allegations” about the plight of this Muslim minority in northwest China.
The proposal made by Conservative MP Michael Chung demanded that “the House of Representatives recognize that genocide is being committed by the People’s Republic of China against the Uyghurs and other Turkish Muslims” and urged the government to “officially adopt this position.” His wording specified that both the previous administration of Donald Trump and the new Joe Biden did.
The abstention of the prime minister and his government did not go unnoticed, despite a hybrid formula that allowed them to flee without embarrassing pictures. Since it’s a mixed vote, they’re not in the room. Otherwise, we’d all have seen them leave the house. “It is embarrassing for Canada and it is a shame for the prime minister and his ministers not to show their faces during the vote,” Conservative parliament leader Gerard Deltel criticized on Twitter.
Bloc member Alexis Brunel Dusepe amended the proposal (229 votes to 29) to add a request to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) “to move the 2022 Olympic Games if the People’s Republic of China continues this genocide.” A few weeks ago, he formed a coalition of elected representatives from the House of Commons, the National Assembly and a few NGOs to give weight to his approach.
Beijing is interfering
As the lawmakers’ vote approached, the Beijing ambassador to Ottawa warned them in an unwanted interview with The Canadian Press. “We firmly oppose this as it contradicts the facts,” Kong Pyo said on Saturday. Speaking of the parliamentary process, he said that it represents interference in Chinese affairs.
Last week, former liberal Justice Minister Erwin Kotler, who is advising the current government on preserving the memory of the Holocaust, suggested that the Trudeau government refer to the Supreme Court for an opinion. “This is an urgent and compelling question,” he wrote on Twitter. But for him, the “evidence is clear” of genocide in Xinjiang.
The Chinese government categorically denies the genocide charges against it. Numerous reports from many media outlets around the world reported a widespread campaign of sterilization, rape and torture against this Muslim population in the northwest of the country.
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