The day after a ruling in the Meng Wanzhou case risked more retaliation from China directed at Canada, the Canadian government and four of its closest allies directed their own new criticism at Beijing.
The governments of Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia released a joint statement today, warning that China’s proposed national-security crackdown in Hong Kong threatened to “dramatically erode” the freedoms enjoyed by residents of the city.
“The world’s focus on a global pandemic requires enhanced trust in governments and international co-operation. Beijing’s unprecedented move risks having the opposite effect,” the joint statement said.
Separately, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he would inform Congress that the proposed law was tantamount to China breaking the promise it made in 1997 to allow Hong Kong residents a form of democracy. The Trump administration said Hong Kong was no longer distinct enough from the Chinese state to enjoy its special financial status.
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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau co-hosted a virtual United Nations meeting today, along with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness. Mr. Trudeau urged global co-operation on rebuilding the economy when the world recovers from the shock of COVID-19.
The COVID-19 crisis has got Canadians to think more positively about their premiers, a new Angus Reid Institute poll suggests. The survey showed the approval ratings of all premiers have gone up in the last three months, some by large margins – Ontario Premier Doug Ford, for example, saw his approval increase 38 points, to 69 per cent.
Of course, what went up, can come down. Ontario Auditor-General Bonnie Lysyk said her office will examine the province’s handling of the pandemic. Critics are raising issues with how the government inspected long-term care facilities, the sites of many of the province’s deaths due to the novel coronavirus. The Ontario government said it would take control of five of the homes, a day after the military rang the alarm bell about deplorable conditions there.
The New Brunswick legislature is adjourning for two weeks after a new coronavirus outbreak in the province.
And Prince Edward Island will start taking applications next week for seasonal residents who want to visit their cottages in the summer.
Campbell Clark (The Globe and Mail) on Canada-China relations after the first Meng Wanzhou court ruling: “We now know the nature of the relationship. It is as though Ms. Meng’s case has suddenly thrown us into the future, and shown us how China will act. Beijing not only uses its vast economic leverage, it takes hostages. It insists that Canada’s institutions and values must bend to its will.”
Lynette Ong (The Globe and Mail) on a way forward: “Yet, there is a silver lining – although it comes amid tragedy. The COVID-19 pandemic that has rattled the world has rendered all countries vulnerable and gives rise to the deeply felt sense that we are all in this together. This collective sentiment creates strength and provides courage for countries to throw their support behind the broad international alliance that has called for an independent inquiry into China’s handling of the outbreak and the role of the World Health Organization, an initiative first proposed by Australia.”
Samir Sinha and Michael Nicin (The Globe and Mail) on fixing the problems in long-term care homes: “So how did it all come to this? Well, for one, we acted like and hoped that we’d never get old. When we established Medicare more than 50 years ago, the average Canadian was only 27 and didn’t live beyond their 60s. It’s understandable that long-term care was not an original priority. But while other aging countries acted clearly and decisively in recent decades to meet their population’s evolving needs, Canada didn’t.”
David Shribman (The Globe and Mail) on the politics of wearing masks: “Five times as many Republicans as Democrats are ready to return to normal daily activities, according to CivicScience surveys. Democrats are more than three times more likely to say they will remain in quarantine even if their state or local governments allow a return to normal.”