Justin Trudeau has the look of the high school hero who’s just fallen off his snowboard in front of all the twirling cheerleaders.
— Canadian columnist Rex Murphy
Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, widely seen as a political pushover to Chinese policy, has stumbled into a new scandal that involves Taiwan’s president.
Already deeply hated in Canada’s West, where he has alienated the oilpatch provinces, squandered chances at gaining early traction on Covid vaccinations (only 2% have been vaxxed, compared to 21.9% in the US), and left the “Two Michaels” to rot in Chinese jails, the young prime minister has yet again stumbled on the world stage.
According to the Taiwan News, Trudeau — the same politician who inexplicably invited the PLA to take part in winter exercises with the Canadian Armed Forces, drawing the ire of the Pentagon — is reportedly threatening to withdraw government funding for the Halifax International Security Forum (HFX), if it goes through with its plans to present an award to Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen.
HFX had planned to present its prestigious John McCain Prize for Leadership in Public Service to Tsai.
McCain was a proud US naval aviator who climbed from depths of despair as a prisoner of war in Vietnam to pinnacles of power as a Republican congressman and senator from Arizona and a two-time contender for the presidency, Taiwan News reported.
The late senator’s widow and member of the forum’s board of directors, Cindy McCain, reportedly backed the plan to award the prize to Tsai.
This would have marked the third time the award has been given, following the people of Lesbos in Greece, in 2018, and pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong, in 2019.
The award was meant to be given to Tsai for “standing strong against China’s relentless pressure.”
However, according to the news site, word has leaked that when the Trudeau administration got wind of the award, it feared “poking the Chinese bear” and threatened to end funding for the forum, Taiwan News reported.
Trudeau’s lack of political experience, has become his Achilles heel.
A so-called backer of women’s rights, he relentlessly badgered a female minister in a criminal issue, in order to gain political favour in Quebec.
Known as the SNC-Lavalin affair, the Parliament of Canada’s Ethics Commissioner Mario Dion found that Trudeau improperly influenced then Minister of Justice and Attorney General Jody Wilson-Raybould to intervene in an ongoing criminal case against Quebec-based construction company SNC-Lavalin.
Like any great power, China can smell weakness. It regards Canada as a “pushover” since Canada never pushes back.
It likely sensed Canada’s vulnerability the moment Trudeau made his absurd declaration a few years back that he admired China’s “basic dictatorship.”
To this day, the prime minister has not walked that bizarre statement back or explained his naivete in saying it.
The fate of the Two Michaels (Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor), who now face the untender mercies of China’s rigged, state-controlled justice system, is one of many recent examples of Beijing ignoring international conventions.
The trap was sprung the moment that the RCMP detained Huawei heiress Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver for potential extradition to the US to face fraud charges.
It is also interesting to note, that many Canadians now feel Meng would not face a fair trial in the US, and favour her outright release.
Ironically, while Trudeau has backed the rule of law in the Meng case, he has also blatantly flouted it in previous cases, such as the SNC-Lavalin scandal, or the We Charity scandal, which almost brought down the Liberal government.
In the latter case, his government gave more than CDN$900 million to a charitable youth group, which kicked back funds to Trudeau and his family for speaker fees.
The only way Trudeau survived a full investigation and its consequences was by pro-roguing Parliament — a move effective in quashing impending scandals that threaten the sitting government.
In February, members of Parliament also voted to label China’s treatment of the Uighur Muslims a genocide, and to call on the federal government to formally adopt that position, without the support of the Liberal cabinet.
Prime Minister Trudeau did not participate — he was a visible no show.
In addition, his Foreign Affairs Minister Marc Garneau, abstained on the record while the rest of his cabinet colleagues were absent.
Canada, the pushover.
As one political wag said of Trudeau, “He’s Neville Chamberlain with good hair.”
“Top secret” government documents also revealed that Trudeau invited China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) to send its troops to Ontario for cold weather training and was unhappy when it was canceled.
The Canadian government’s bombshell secret 34-page file was obtained by The Globe and Mail.
According to the memos, the training was cancelled by Chief of Defense Staff Jonathan Vance due to concerns that China could use the trip to obtain critical defense information.
Meanwhile, HFX officials, now facing angry reprisals from the Trudeau camp, are reportedly conflicted on how to respond, Taiwan News reported.
In a statement, HFX vice president Robin Shepherd said, “HFX has not yet announced the winner of the 2020 John McCain Prize for leadership in public service.”
He stated that an announcement will be made at the “appropriate time.”
Shepherd praised Tsai as a “well respected international leader, the first female president of Taiwan, and a strong global advocate for democracy. She would certainly be an ideal fit for this award.”
In response to the report, foreign ministry spokeswoman Joanne Ou stated that if NFX does intend to present the award to Tsai, “It would be an affirmation and honor to President Tsai and the people of Taiwan fighting the pandemic and for democracy.”
However, she stressed that on the basis of democracy and out of respect for the forum, the ministry will respect its decision, leaving HFX a respectable way out of the predicament, Taiwan News reported.
Trying to stay above the controversy and take the high road, Ou said that Taiwan and Canada have friendly relations because the two nations “share the values of democracy, the rule of law, and human rights.”
Strangely enough, Chinese president Xi Jinping refused to see Trudeau, during his last visit to China, treating the bumbling PM as a lightweight.
— with files from Global Television, The Daily Mail, The Globe & Mail and classified sources