John Ivison: Liberals’ rebrand of their China policy is more about Erin O’Toole than Xi Jinping


It is a happy coincidence for the Liberals that just as new Conservative leader Erin O’Toole is blasting the government’s weak China policy, they are getting set to launch a new tougher approach to dealing with Beijing. For the Liberals, a firmer line on China can’t come quickly enough. The middle-ground approach chides China for its mistreatment of its minorities and crushing freedom of speech in Hong Kong but does not risk antagonizing Beijing – a consequence that the government believes might jeopardize the release of the two Michaels, not to mention $23 billion in exports and the status of 160,000 Chinese students in Canada. However, Canadians should not expect a radical departure on the thorniest questions like the future of Taiwan, which will continue to reflect “regional realities”, the source said.

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