Montréal, November 16, 2006 – The Canada Tibet Committee (CTC) welcomes Prime Minister
Harper’s statement that Canada will not sell out civil society values when engaging China.
“China’s initial snub of Canada at APEC, and apparent reversal was predictable behavior on the
part of Beijing,” according to Luisa Durante of the Canada Tibet Committee. “The Chinese
government’s intimidation tactics have caused some governments to knuckle under needlessly in
a way that’s compromised their long term diplomacy efforts on issues outside of trade.
“Engaging China on their rights record and on Tibet is not simply a Canadian expectation. It’s
one that arises from internationally recognized human rights principles. So far, the Prime
Minister has done the right thing in standing firm. We urge him to convey strong Canadian
support for a negotiated settlement over the Tibet issue when and if he meets with Hu Jintao.
This should be made an integral part of Canada’s foreign relations policy.”
“Those who are concerned about any distancing of relations with Beijing should consider this - it
is China’s own conduct, including their illegal occupation of Tibet, that is largely responsible for
creating tensions with other members of the international community. Second, advancing a trade
agenda to the exclusion of all else will only reinforce China’s expectation that no meaningful
criticism will be voiced. That’s not a constructive approach, and would hobble future efforts to
veer back to a more balanced policy.”
In the last several years, Parliament has expressed strong support for Tibet across party lines. In
2004, a majority of MPs wrote to the PM in support of a Tibet China negotiations effort, ahead
of Paul Martin’s historic meeting with the Dalai Lama. The motion to grant the Dalai Lama
honorary citizenship was passed with unanimous consent. Most recently, Minister Mackay
strongly condemned the killing of an unarmed Tibetan nun and the detention of children fleeing
across the border to Nepal (captured on video).
CTC remains gravely concerned about the situation in Tibet, and of Canadian corporate
involvement there. Bombardier, Nortel, and Power Corp were all involved in the Tibet railway
which threatens to destroy Tibetan civilization. Meanwhile, the entry of several junior mining
companies raises concerns about the ability of local communities to freely consent to and truly
benefit from operations.
Canada Tibet Committee, National Office
Phone: (514) 487-0665, (514) 561-9578