Canadian Parliament Votes Unanimously To Recognize China's Genocide

Trudeau and cabinet abstain from vote

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February 23, 2021

A resolution in Canada's parliament to declare China’s human-rights abuses against Uighur Muslims a genocide passed unanimously on Monday.

The 266-0 vote opens the door to further policy action from the Canadian government. Though the resolution received resounding support in parliament, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and most of his cabinet declined to attend the vote. One cabinet member, foreign affairs minister Marc Garneau, abstained on behalf of the government.

Trudeau previously objected to the use of the term "genocide" to describe the mass incarceration and coercive population control ongoing in western China, saying the issue warrants further study.

Both conservative and liberal members of parliament, however, emphasized the need for decisive action to call out China’s human-rights abuses. Canada’s four major political parties all called for sanctions on Chinese Communist Party officials and urged that the 2022 Winter Olympics be moved from Beijing.

Rep. Michael Waltz (R., Fla.) applauded the Canadian parliament's action but blasted Trudeau for his silence on China. 

"While I’m heartened to see our friends in Canada vote to declare genocide is occurring in Xinjiang and open the door for moving the Olympics, it’s absolutely shameful Prime Minister Trudeau and his cabinet abstained from voting," Waltz told the Washington Free Beacon. "Trudeau and his government can’t turn a blind eye to what’s taking place in western China and I hope Canada will ultimately participate in boycotting the winter games in Beijing." 

Waltz was among the first members of Congress to support a boycott of the Olympics over China’s crackdown on human rights and political freedoms, which he announced last week. House Homeland Security Committee ranking member Rep. John Katko (R., N.Y.) joined Waltz’s effort on Monday with his own letter to the Biden administration, demanding swift action to demonstrate that China’s behavior will not stand.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said this month that President Joe Biden currently has no plans to consider a boycott of the 2022 Olympics. Psaki referred reporters to the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee, which said it opposes boycotts because they have proved counterproductive in "effectively addressing global issues."