EDITORIAL: Standing up for human rights is morally sound — but there is a cost

With the House of Commons voting to declare China’s actions to be genocide, we can expect retaliation in the form of economic pressure. Sectors that rely on the Chinese market for export/import purposes will likely be impacted.

Voting to declare that China’s actions in its western Xinjiang region meet the definition of genocide as set out in the 1948 United Nations Genocide Convention is a bold move by the House of Commons.

Standing up for human rights is always the correct stance to take. However, those MPs from all parties who voted in favour of the Conservative motion must know there will likely be a cost to that vote.

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(Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and almost all of his cabinet skipped Monday’s vote, with Foreign Affairs Minister Marc Garneau the lone cabinet member in attendance. He abstained on behalf of the federal government.)

China has long proven to be a corrupt regime that cares not for human rights and targets those who dare criticize the actions of the Far East giant.

Canada knows that well, with two innocent Canadians — Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor — having been kidnapped and detained by Chinese authorities nine days after the RCMP arrested Chinese Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver in December 2018 on a U.S. extradition warrant.

With the House of Commons voting to declare China’s actions to be genocide, we can expect retaliation in the form of economic pressure. Sectors that rely on the Chinese market for export/import purposes will likely be impacted.

That is the reality of the situation — how much economic pain are we willing to withstand for standing up for human rights?

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