As Prime Minister Stephen Harper leads a high-powered Team Corporate Canada to China, there’s justifiable speculation that the PM will not question China’s appalling human rights record. At least not publicly. Once, powerful western democracies placed human rights at the centre of their international relations. In fact, human rights were once the cornerstone of Canada’s foreign and other policies. But times have changed. In the Harper Conservative majority era, Canada coddles dictatorial regimes that persecute their own populations. For example, China, our new best friend.
But now that the Asian powerhouse is fast emerging as the next global “super power”, is it far-fetched to suggest that Chinese President Hu Jintao quiz Harper on Canada’s human rights record during the visit? The Yinka Dene Alliance, a group of five First Nations that represent several thousand people in north-central B.C., doesn’t think so.