I’ve been blogging so long, sometimes even I forget what I have written about, but the current story of Chinese soldiers training on Canadian soil that’s raising eyebrows, didn’t raise mine and was no surprise to my longtime readers either. The link above is subscriber only, and y’all are probably as tight with your money as I am right now, so a friend sent me screenshots of the article 😁 read left to right. ( apologies to the Globe and Mail but if you send me a free subscription, I’ll stop doing it…)
Isn’t that something. Now lets go back to how this came to be and who else should be answering questions here. The Federal NDP should be firing on all cylinders at both the federal Liberals and the Conservatives.
It was August 24th 2013, and I had been writing about then Prime Minister Stephen Harpers about face on Sino-Canadian relations for a while, because frankly it was quite compelling. And at the time, I scooped all major media in Canada by 5 days, because CTV – the first msm outlet to cover it-didn’t do so until the 29th.
While everyone is up in arms over the story of a Chinese reporter being denied the right to ask questions of Harper following some sort of shoving incident, perhaps what is a far more important story of Sino-Canadian relations has gone by the wayside.
As reported in the Chinese newspaper People’s Daily Online http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/90883/8376276.html , Chinese defence minister Chang Wanquan and Canadian Defence Minister Rob Nicholson held talks on Thursday and signed an initiative following their meetings.
Chang said military relations between China and Canada have maintained a sound momentum of development, as evidenced by frequent contacts between military leaders of the two sides, and their smooth and close coordination on global and regional issues.
Meanwhile, continuous progress has been made in bilateral military cooperation, such as in military training, international peace-keeping, defense education and mutual visits by warships, he said.
Chang also said China is ready to work with Canada to enhance their military ties by promoting high-level exchanges, strengthening strategic mutual trust, deepening pragmatic exchanges and cooperation, and reinforcing multilateral coordination.
Nicolson said he is glad to see the two militaries have engaged in positive interactions. He said, as Canada and China share common interests in many issues, militaries of the two countries need to promote dialogue and deepen cooperation in a bid to push their relations forward continuously.
After the meeting, Chang and Nicolson signed an initiative, under which the two countries agreed to promote high-level military exchanges and establish a defence coordination dialogue mechanism. Also on Thursday, Chang held talks with Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird.
This comes following two events of note earlier this year: the keynote speech given by Ambassador Zhang Junsai at a luncheon in Calgary hosted by Alberta Oil Magazine( May 30th, 2013) , and the historic visit and meetings of Peter Mackay with Chinese defense minister Chang Wanquan a few days later in Beijing. ( June 2nd, 2013)
At the luncheon hosted by Alberta Oil Magazine in May, Amabassador Zhang Junsai offered several insights into both China’s investment and resource strategy, as well as how they view Canada’s resources.
I do suggest you go and read that entire blog post, and the comments which always hold as much information as the blog, thanks to readers and other bloggers.
Here is where the irony comes in.
Defence minister Harjit Sajin was under fire on this issue in the House of Commons, and rightly so. While Sino-Canadian relations are both critical and sensitive for many reasons,there has widely been a line in the sand internationally, when it comes to how the defence community views relations with the Chinese government, and how politicians view it.
It’s long been a bone of contention for many in national defence that politicians often make promises and agreements that either do impact or have potential to impact national security, in their quest to make political gains. Until the two Michaels were detained, and the Hong Kong protests, most people forgot that China is still not a democracy, and that relations with the Chinese government will never be the same as relations with a democratic country.
But I digress, albeit with pertinent context. Let’s get back to the irony of Conservative Defence critic James Bezan questioning Sajin on these revelations…. when Bezan was previously parliamentary secretary to Rob Nicholson, the former Conservative defence minister who signed that agreement in 2013!!
Perhaps someone might want to talk to Rob Nicholson, Peter Mackay and ask exactly what the agreement states, because Canadians need some clarity as to what Canada was actually tied into. Why?
Because when questioned about this back in 2013 by CTV’s Murray Brewster, 5 days after my initial blog post was passed onto several media outlets, this was the Conservatives response:
A spokeswoman for Nicholson, Genevieve Breton, confirmed the meeting took place and described the agreement as a “non-binding” co-operation plan that formalizes a process already in place.
Another issue of importance has been the increased use of cyberattacks on western commercial, industrial and government targets. Last winter, a U.S.-based cybersecurity firm, Mandiant, accused a secret Chinese military unit in Shanghai of mounting hundreds of online attacks against American companies.
Last June, former defence minister Peter MacKay raised the issue with Chang, saying he laid down “clear markers” when the two met in Beijing.
Breton confirmed the topic was discussed again, but would not provide detail.
Now there are a few questions that need to be asked here.
- Conservative defence critic James Bezan should be asked where is this agreement his old boss and government signed, and what was the context of the “non-binding cooperation plan”.
- Harjit Sajin should be asked why, if indeed it was a non binding agreement signed in 2013, did they subsequently agree to host PLA soldiers for training on Canadian soil ?
- The federal Liberals need to be pushed to produce this agreement so Canadians can see another example of what kinds of commitments successive governments have gotten us into.
From the embassy site in Canada :