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China Puts Economic Wood on Canada
And Trudeau didn’t have to wait long for them. Chinese authorities arrested two Canadians on security-related charges. Chinese consumers made the shares of Canada Goose clothing company – the second-best performer in Canada’s benchmark stock index this year – plunge by nearly 20 percent over just four days. With the legal process against Meng far from over, Trudeau might expect that there will be more to come.
Now, facing China’s rage over doing the US’ bidding, Ottawa desperately seeks to save face and avoid further politicization of an already explosive issue. On Wednesday, Canada’s Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland warned the US not to mess with the “pursuit of justice” after Trump said he could intervene in the extradition case if it benefits US trade interests with China.
Canadian business analysts are also warning that Beijing can inflict harsh economic penalties on Ottawa. An incensed Chinese public have begun boycotting Canadian exports and sensitive Canadian investments in China are now at risk from being blocked by Beijing. A proposed free trade deal that was being negotiated between Ottawa and Beijing now looks dead in the water.
And if Trudeau’s government caves in to the excruciating economic pressure brought to bear by Beijing and then abides by China’s demand to immediately release Meng Wanzhou, Ottawa will look like a pathetic, gutless lackey to Washington. Canada’s reputation of being a liberal, independent state will be shredded. Even then the Chinese are unlikely to forget Trudeau’s treachery.
With comic irony, there’s a cringemaking personal dimension to this unseemly saga.
During the 1970s when Trudeau’s mother Margaret was a thirty-something socialite heading for divorce from his father, then Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, she was often in the gossip media for indiscretions at nightclubs. Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards claims in his autobiography that Margaret Trudeau was a groupie for the band, having flings with Mick Jagger and Ronnie Wood. Her racy escapades and louche lifestyle brought shame to many Canadians.
Poor Margaret Trudeau later wound up divorced, disgraced, financially broke and scraping a living from scribbling tell-all books.