Foreign minister Champagne, Conservative critic Chong spar on China at committee

Conservative MP Michael Chong is urging Foreign Affairs Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne to adopt a more consistent approach to getting tough with China. 

The Conservative foreign affairs critic told Champagne during a House of Commons committee meeting Tuesday that the government needs to show Canadians how it will deal with growing Chinese intimidation of Canadians within Canada’s borders. 

Chong said it is inconsistent for the government to be talking tougher on China, while Canada’s ambassador is making speeches about the need to broaden trade with the People’s Republic. 

Chong sponsored a motion that won approval in the Commons last week that calls on the government to decide within 30 days whether to allow China’s Huawei Technologies to supply equipment for its next generation 5G internet network. 

Champagne replied that Canada has taken a smart and firm approach with China lately that includes speaking out against its ill treatment of pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong and of ethnic Muslim Uighurs. 

Champagne said Canada needs to both challenge and co-operate with China.