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Conservative MP (Durham, Ontario) and Shadow Minister of Foreign Affairs Erin O’Toole released a video calling out the Trudeau government for failing to save the two Canadian hostages detained by the Chinese government a year ago in retaliation for Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou being arrested on charges from US authorities of fraud, as well as allegations of violating sanctions placed on Iran. The video was released on the one-year anniversary of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor being arrested by the Chinese government.
“This week marks one year since Canadian citizens Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig were imprisoned by the Chinese state in an act of retaliation for the lawful arrest of a Chinese citizen in Canada,” says O’Toole at the beginning of the video, released Sunday on social media.
“Twelve months the Chinese citizen has been staying in a $13 million Vancouver mansion and she wrote about taking up oil painting. Our citizens are in cells with the lights on for 24 hours. They have half an hour of consular access each month. They are cut off. They probably feel abandoned. Twelve months, two ministers, two ambassadors, zero progress,” O’Toole continues.
Although sources within the Conservative Party of Canada have been saying O’Toole is looking to usurp leader Andrew Scheer’s position, for now it appears he’s put aside his leadership ambitions.
“Conservatives, led by Andrew Scheer, are going to be bringing this debate to Parliament. We need a plan from Justin Trudeau. From his earliest days he’s been naive when it comes to China.”
(Scheer faces a leadership confidence vote from CPC members in April.)
Some political commentators on social media noted that O’Toole came across as more confident and charismatic in the video than Scheer has as leader.
According to a Nanos poll from four months ago, only 10 percent of Canadians have a positive view of China.
Although most political experts in the West believe the two Michaels were arrested for spurious charges, Chinese authorities claim they both threatened China’s national security.