Canada’s conservative right is taking straight aim at China, and not holding back.
The latest to fire torpedoes, is Conservative leadership hopeful Peter MacKay, who is calling for use of the Magnitsky Act if specific individuals in China can be identified as having suppressed information related to Covid-19, Canadian Press reported.
A full inquiry, perhaps an international one, into how the novel coronavirus turned into a pandemic is required, MacKay told supporters.
“We need to invoke existing laws like the Magnitsky Act to hold individuals personally accountable for misdeeds if that evidence exists,” he said.
The act allows for sanctions against foreign nationals “responsible for gross violations of internationally recognized human rights.”
The legislation is named after Sergei Magnitsky, a Moscow lawyer who was tortured and died in a Moscow prison after uncovering fraud in Russia, Canadian Press reported.
Since 2016, the bill, which applies globally, authorizes the US to sanction those who it sees as human rights offenders, freeze their assets, and ban them from entering the US.
The law has long been a thorn in the side of Russia and President Putin, who detest it because it is so effective in rooting out and punishing Russian corruption and malfeasance.
In fact, Putin has called it, “the biggest threat” to his corrupt regime, Canadian Press reported.
“If there was evidence that was suppressed, or falsified, or if there is information brought to the front that proves that the outbreak in Wuhan (city) either could have been prevented or we could have contained it much earlier, than I think we have to have a much, much greater degree of accountability,” MacKay said on a call with supporters this week.
There has been a running debate over how much Chinese government officials knew and potentially didn’t tell global health officials about the emergence of Covid-19 in that country late last year, leading to questions about whether the damage could have been averted, Canadian Press reported.
Both the WHO and China have strenuously denied any cover-up, the latter tossing slurs and insults, instead of hard facts and solid arguments, at anyone who dares suggest a different scenario — a situation that only adds fuel to the Covid fire.
AS US Secretary of State Pompeo leans even harder into his attacks on the Chinese government over the coronavirus pandemic, intelligence official says there is no human intelligence backing up the idea, while lawmakers press the administration to turn over any evidence, ABC News reported.
The US intelligence community is investigating whether or not the virus originated in a lab, but it “concurs with the wide scientific consensus that the Covid-19 virus was not manmade or genetically modified,” the Office of the Director of National Intelligence said in a statement last week.
MacKay is not the first to suggest using the act. Human rights advocate and former Liberal MP Irwin Cotler advanced the idea in April, Canadian Press reported.
MacKay, as well as two other fringe leadership candidates, Erin O’Toole and Derek Sloan, also joined Cotler and hundreds of other politicians, academics and human rights advocates in signing a letter condemning China’s actions.
A fourth candidate, Leslyn Lewis, does not appear to have signed the letter, though like her competitors she has called for a change in Canada-China relations, Canadian Press reported.
O’Toole is considered an extremist, vowing to undo everything Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has done during his government, while Sloan attacked Canada’s chief public health officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, merely for being Asian.