EDITORIAL: G7 is all hat, no cattle over China’s abuses

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Last weekend’s G7 was loaded with sailors’ songs, photo ops and merriment with the Queen. What he lacked was the substance and support of European leaders to face the increasingly harsh regime in China.

There were courageous words at the meeting in Cornwall, England, and the final communiqué was dutifully self-righteous about Chinese influence. It was watered down, however, and made no reference to hostage diplomacy and the shameful and continued imprisonment of Canadians Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig.

By not mentioning the two Michael’s in their closing statement, the G7 missed an opportunity to send a powerful message to China and left the country on one leg. Is Canada the only democracy that supports the rule of law?

It is a shame that our so-called allies refuse to stand side by side with us in our fight to free the two illegally detained men. We have the right to expect more from them.

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There are reports that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wants to become the “dean” of the G7 once German Chancellor Angela Merkel leaves the international scene. We ask him to stop embarrassing himself – and this country – by his posture. An election is looming and his government has been beset by enough scandals and made enough blunders to reduce its chances of having a majority government.

Trudeau is perhaps the oldest of the G7 leaders. He might have the biggest ego and the best socks. That doesn’t make him the most respected. Merkel is a natural leader. Trudeau is not. He has shown little aptitude for international affairs and often appears woefully out of his depth in the company of global heavyweights. He failed even to convince the G7 leaders to support the release of Kovrig and Spavor.

Let’s not turn this into another humiliation, like our failed bid for a seat on the UN Security Council last year. Canada lost to tiny Norway and even smaller to Ireland.

All the platitudes of the final G7 communiqué on gender equality and the fight against climate change ring hollow as long as the Chinese government jails the two Michaeles, violates the human rights of its citizens and its factories continue to be the most big polluters of the planet.

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About Julius Southworth

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