It seems Justin Trudeau is just fine with Steven Guilbeault serving Canada and China at the same time. Trudeau’s office refused to comment on a story broken by the Toronto Sun that Guilbeault was advising the Chinese and Canadian governments at the same time.
Guilbeault’s office also didn’t comment on the appropriateness of the dual roles despite more than 24 hours to do so.
In an exclusive interview with activist media outlet the National Observer, Guilbeault bragged earlier this week about going to China and seeking to make them an ally on climate change. It’s a bit of an odd stance given China’s record on climate change, their soaring greenhouse gas emissions and Guilbeault’s antagonistic attitude towards Canada’s premiers who all have better track records.
“Maybe some (political opponents) will try and attack me” for traveling to China amid tensions between the two countries, Guilbeault told the National Observer. “I am clearly a lightning rod for some of them, but I think Canadians, in general, will understand how important it is. We can’t solve climate change, you can’t solve the international biodiversity issue, without working with countries like China.”
Except, Guilbeault isn’t just traveling to China to take part in talks, he is also the Executive Vice Chairperson of the China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development. The chair of that group, fully controlled by the Chinese Communist Party, is Ding Xuexiang, a man just behind China’s President, Xi Jingping, in the pecking order of the authoritarian regime.
Charles Burton, senior fellow at the Macdonald-Laurier Institute and former Canadian diplomat to China, said this arrangement should not sit well with Canadians. Burton said that China will use offer Guilbeault promises of action on climate change in exchange for concessions on Canadian policy towards China.
“These concessions would include Canada taking no effective action on a foreign influence registry, or launching a thorough public inquiry into Chinese interference in Canada’s democratic institutions, or implementation of any Indo-Pacific Strategy that would constrain China’s geostrategic ambitions,” Burton said.
Given China’s kidnapping of the two Michaels, the economic warfare China has launched against Canada’s farmers over the past several years, the intimidation of Chinese-Canadians with illegal police stations and the interference in our democracy, it is unconscionable that Guilbeault would hold such a position.
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“We think it’s time for Guilbeault to resign as Executive Vice chairperson and for the Trudeau Government to cancel generous funding they have given this organization,” Conservative Foreign Affairs Critic Michael Chong said in an interview Thursday.
The Conservatives estimate that the Trudeau Liberals are giving $16 million over the last several years to this “think tank” that is fully controlled — including who gets appointed — by China’s Ministry of the Environment and Ecology. Trudeau supporters are quick to point out that Peter Kent held the same position while serving as environment minister in Stephen Harper’s government.
As your mother might have told you, two wrongs don’t make a right. Also, China and the global dynamics have changed dramatically since then.
China wasn’t interfering in our elections or kidnapping our citizens 10 years ago and they were promising to clean up their act environmentally.
“We took Beijing at its word that it was going to work in good faith to reduce emissions, but the last several years have demonstrated that Beijing is doing the opposite. Beijing is hell-bent on increasing emissions till 2030,” Chong said.
Instead, as Chong points out, backed up by the New York Times, NPR and left-wing think tanks, China has increased its coal use, especially over the last few years. China’s carbon emissions rise by roughly 2 billion tonnes per year, almost three times Canada’s total emissions in a given year.
The dictators in Beijing who control the group Guilbeault is a part of aren’t interested in lowering emissions, they just want to use Canada’s name to greenwash their actions while extracting concessions from Guilbeault.