By following US' Sinophobia craze, Trudeau will only hurt Canada more
Published: Nov 12, 2022 12:15 PM
Photo: CFP

Photo: CFP

There is no shortage of serious threats to global stability at the moment. In Canada, stubbornly high levels of inflation, a housing shortage, the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war and the terrifying potential spectre of nuclear war, and the ongoing climate crisis have all been identified by the Canadian government as major challenges facing the country.

But in the midst of all these very real trials, the Canadian government seems intent on fabricating another crisis.

In early November, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, speaking to reporters, accused China of "aggressive games" and "election interference." Only days later, Mélanie Joly, the country's foreign minister, accused China of being an "increasingly disruptive" global power that seeks to "shape the global environment into one that is more permissive for interests and values that increasingly depart from ours."

These harsh and confrontational remarks from Trudeau and Joly, coming on the eve of a number of summits attended by the prime minister, indicate a trend where Canada seems to be following in the footsteps of the US in seeking to increasingly disassociate itself from China.

In fact, lest there was any doubt about the Trudeau government's intentions, that's exactly what one Cabinet minister told an influential business gathering recently in Washington, DC.

"What we want is certainly a decoupling: certainly from China, and I would say other regimes in the world which don't share the same values," François-Philippe Champagne, the country's industry minister, told a group organized by the Canadian American Business Council in October.

As to the motivations behind the Trudeau government's dramatic pivot, observers need to look no further than Canada's southern neighbour: the US.

Roughly three-quarters of Canada's exports go to the US, representing a huge liability for Canada. Should the US seek to replace Canada's exports internally, the Canadian economy would be facing a major threat.

And when the US - feeling threatened and infatuated with a rising China - tells Canada to follow along its path of economic warfare, Canada has shown little opposition to dutifully falling into line.

"Political Washington under the last few administrations has been increasingly seized with girding itself for a generation of competition with China. And the US has made clear, for some time, that it's eager to know where Canada stands in the century's biggest geopolitical rivalry," read a recent analysis in CBC News.

Canada's eager devotion to the US' continuing hostility to China appears to be out of a hope that the country will be given preferential treatment as the US continues to implement increasingly isolationist policies, including the Inflation Reduction Act, which has been criticized by European powers as being a major threat to the economy of the European Union.

But if the Trudeau government thinks joining the American anti-China chorus will help it curry favour in Washington, DC, it is demonstrating a remarkably short memory.

In 2018, US President Donald Trump, in announcing a series of major tariffs targeting Canada, said that his moves could cause the "ruination of the country." And while Trump is no longer the US President and his successor, Joe Biden, has claimed to move past the Trump-era isolationism, in reality Biden's economic policies continue to be isolationist in many respects.

Facing a southern neighbour which has shown a baseless obsession with opposing China at every step, and who is demanding that Canada do likewise, the Trudeau government has shown that rather than finding a creative solution that allows Canada to maintain its sovereignty and independence, it is easier to instead simply follow what the White House is demanding.

If Canada is hoping to simply wait out the current Sinophobic trends in the US for more sane heads to prevail, it will be profoundly disappointed. 

As pointed out in the CBC News analysis, a recent anti-China book making the rounds in Washington, DC. serves as an illustrative example of the depth of Sinophobic fear-mongering in the US. The book, Danger Zone, which claims China will become an increasingly aggressive foe and may even initiate armed conflict against the US in future, has the endorsement of the former US defence secretary, and is authored by two former Pentagon staffers who continue to play advisory roles.

When Justin Trudeau was elected in 2015, he promised Canadians "sunny ways." Is following the US into the depths of Sinophobic insanity what Canadians had in mind?

The author writes about relations between China & the West. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn