As much as Canada’s freedom-loving Conservatives seem to hate Justin Trudeau, you’d think they would at least take his side when it came to a public dispute with a literal dictator. But as his recent showdown with Chinese President Xi Jinping revealed, the negative partisanship that seems to define Canadian politics in 2022 knows no bounds. Worse, it often blinds the people suffering from it to reality.

Xi’s regime, after all, is one that conservative pundits and politicians have routinely (and often quite fairly) criticized the Trudeau government for being too cozy with. More recently, they’ve demanded (again, fairly) an investigation into allegations of foreign interference by China in Canada’s democracy, which includes a “clandestine network” of at least 11 federal candidates running in the 2019 election. As Global reported last week, “the alleged election interference network included members from both the Liberal and Conservative parties, according to sources with knowledge of the briefs.”

And yet, when video surfaced of Xi and Trudeau squaring off on the sidelines of the G20 summit, Conservatives seemed to be practically rooting for the dictator. The ironically named “Canada Proud” said it looked like “an employee getting berated by his boss,” and asked “Why must Trudeau embarrass our country every time he goes out in public?”

The Toronto Sun splashed the event across its front page with the suggestion that “‘Little Potato’ Justin Trudeau needs to get tougher on the world stage after dressing down from China’s Xi.” And former Conservative MP Bob Saroya, who represented Markham-Unionville from 2015 to 2021, tweeted: “It is tough to see the PM run backstage after getting publicly humiliated by President Xi.”

But is that what really happened? As British comedian John Cleese tweeted, “I'm puzzled by the reporting of Xi's exchange with Trudeau. 'Xi scolds Trudeau'...What about 'Dictator complains to democratically elected leader’?”

Xi’s complaints, meanwhile, were about a “leak” of their conversation — one that took the form of a standard diplomatic readout that comes with every meeting between Canada’s prime minister and another world leader. “In Canada, we believe in a free and open and frank dialogue,” Trudeau told Xi. “We will continue to work constructively together, but there will be things that we will disagree on.”

And while there was much online talk about the apparent weakness in Trudeau’s body language, that’s not how those who follow him closely read it.

As the Toronto Star’s Susan Delacourt noted, “A close watch of the video shows Trudeau nodding politely until he realizes through the translator that he’s getting a scolding. The prime minister then fixes his gaze on Xi directly and moves closer to the Chinese leader — something Trudeau does often when he’s confronted or challenged.” As Delacourt wrote, Trudeau famously did that during his first official visit with U.S. President Donald Trump in February 2017.

You might think the Canadians who define themselves by their steadfast dedication to liberty and free markets would be rallying, however reluctantly, behind their democratically elected leader rather than a foreign dictator. But this obvious contradiction, one that places their partisan well ahead of their patriotic loyalties, is not new to politics.

During Trump’s presidential run in 2016, members of the Republican Party began to adjust their long-held views on Russia in accordance with their new leader’s curiously warm relationship with its leader. Where only 10 per cent of Republicans held a favourable view of Russian President Vladimir Putin in July 2014, that number had nearly quadrupled to 37 per cent by December 2016. By 2022, Putin was more popular among Republicans than Joe Biden, Kamala Harris and the entire Democratic Party.

Pick your side carefully. The spat between Justin Trudeau and Xi Jinping is a clash between liberal democracy and authoritarian dictatorship. @maxfawcett writes for @NatObserver #cdnpoli #opinion

This is the very definition of putting party before country, and it obscures the fact that the real contest right now is between liberal democracies and authoritarian dictatorships. That’s playing out most obviously in Ukraine, but there are any number of other areas, from China’s growing military assertiveness and its designs on Taiwan to the supply chains for key minerals that will help drive the energy transition, where parochial partisanship is getting in the way of more important conversations.

Those conversations include what Canada’s relationship with China can and should look like in the years ahead. They should also include an analysis of the missteps that the Trudeau government has made on this file in the past, ones that revolve around its excessive optimism about China’s willingness to engage with the West and its values. As a smaller country with less financial and military clout, Canada can’t afford to be divided by reflexive partisanship on an issue like this — especially when hostile foreign powers like China and Russia will be only too happy to exploit that division.

Until Canada’s conservative movement is able to kick its addiction to hating Justin Trudeau, those important conversations are going to be difficult to have.

Conservatives are free, of course, to disagree with the government, to criticize its policies and dislike its personnel, just as Liberals and New Democrats will be when the tables are eventually turned. In some respects, that’s quite literally their job. But when the conflict is between liberal democracy and authoritarian dictatorship, we should all be able to rally behind the prime minister — no matter what his or her name might be.

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No one is nastier than conservatives, no one; it's become their defining trait, a point of pride, and while we on the left disingenuously pretend that "hate" isn't even in our repertoire, it's what seems to galvanize and define them. They happily despise Trudeau and everything about him, particularly his personal style which they seem to see as effeminate, even foppish, and far from "leaderly." Their ideal on that front was Harper with the inscrutable expression of a "satiated badger." Spot on I thought when I read that somewhere. Xi Jinping resembles him actually, has the same kind of rubber clown lips and dead eyes so in the exchange in question he embodies the preferred conservative demeanor of "he da man." His obvious disdain and impatience with the boyish Trudeau clearly delighted the cons.
I agree with Susan Delacourt though, that Trudeau in fact towers subtly, but intimidatingly because he's also handsome (men in general seem oddly incapable of openly acknowledging this observable reality and/or its power, but it's still there) but he's not aloof at all, leans right in disarmingly, seeking the connection of eye contact with people, often to the point of making many of them uncomfortable. That can be seen as passive-aggressive, or genuinely warm. I'd say both apply, depending, but generally he's "liberal" through and through in that he errs on the side of open warmth. According to churlish, close-minded cons, this all speaks to an "unseemly" youthfulness in middle-age but what it actually means is that he's a disciplined, fit person who also can and WILL dance. Compare that to stiff, pasty Harper who projects bloated evasiveness.

Thank you for this Max. We all need to wake up to the threat China poses under the leadership of Xi. I urge everyone to read China Unbound by Joanna Chiu. China is already (and has been for some time) taking actions to influence our politics, economics and culture through the Communist party's United Front. For example, if Chinese nationals criticize the government of China about human rights abuses or other issues, their relatives in China may be punished. We desperately need a Foreign Interference Act similar to what Australia has.

We have been so naive regarding China. I guess the imprisonment of the 2 Michaels woke us up a bit, but I don't think that most Canadians realize the danger China poses to our sovereignty. Remember that Harper signed the FIPA (Foreign Investment Protection Agreement), which gives Chinese private and state -owned companies the right to sue Canada if they feel our environmental and labour regulations prevent them from making a profit. What a sell-out that was! And now I have read that this FIPA may prevent Canada from taking real action on Climate Change because of the Chinese investment in oil and gas.

Shame on the Conservatives for criticizing Trudeau about this incident! I agree, what is at stake is the survival of democracy in the face of rising authoritarianism and the assault from Russia and China.

Has politics reached such a low state that, for some politicians, getting elected is more important than doing what is right for your country?

In reply to your query, the answer is of course yes, it has, but everyone really should qualify all statements about politics right now i.e. never stop at the usual bland "some politicians."
It's always, and probably exclusively, conservative politicians.

Hi Patricia,

You mentioned the imprisonment of the 2 Michaels. You failed to mention the prior arrest and detention of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou by the Canadian government on behalf of it's master, the USA, on politically motivated charges more related to business disputes between the USA and China than to actual evidence of criminal activities - another example of Canada behaving like the USA's toady. Exactly what threat does China pose to Canada, apart from eventually surpassing the USA as the economic leader of the planet?

You have obviously been soaking up all of the western propaganda about China instead of seeking out independent news and analysis. Check out some of Daniel Dumbrill's videos on Youtube (https://www.youtube.com/@DanielDumbrill) in which he challenges many of the western claims about China's alleged abhorrent actions. He is a Canadian citizen and businessman who has lived in China for several years now and has a much different take on the various stories about the Chinese government's horrific treatment of it's citizens than we get from our western news outlets.

Check out the World Bank document (https://www.worldbank.org/en/news/press-release/2022/04/01/lifting-800-m...) in which it discusses the work that the Chinese government has done between the late 1940's and the present to dramatically reduce poverty and increase living standards and educational opportunities for it's citizens. Contrast this to the sub-standard living conditions of our indigenous populations on reserves, the horrendous abuse of indigenous youth at the Residential Schools right up till 1996, the lack of concern from our justice system over the years long murders/disappearances of over 1,000 indigenous women, or the prejudicial treatment of urban indigenous populations by police forces.

The USA has roughly 750 US foreign military bases spread across 80 nations around the world, and spends more on it's military budget than the rest of the world combined. As an example, the USA, with a population of 331 million, in 2021 spent 801 billion dollars on it's military ($2,400 per capita), compared to China, with a population of 1.44 billion, spent 293 billion ($203 per capita). The USA has invaded 70 countries since its 4th of July Independence Day in 1776, the majority of which were illegal under international law.

In terms of military arms international exports (many to dictatorships/non-democratic countries), the USA, with a population of 331 million, is the highest at $9.3 billion ($28.00 per capita), China with a population of 1.44 billion, ranks #8 at $760 million ($0.53 per capita), while Canada, with a population of only 38 million, ranks #14 at $200 million ($5.26 per capita). This is a reminder that those who live in glass houses shouldn't throw rocks and that we should follow our mainstream news reports and analysis with a healthy dose of skepticism and seek out other sources of information before forming our opinions.

Lee; Don't try to say there is no difference between democracies and dictatorships because we've been through this before and you won't get away with it. Democracies don't have to be perfect, just better in the only way that matters - they're not greedy, barbarous, and cruel dictatorships.

Hi Seamus,

Actually, the name is Les. You didn't address any of the points that I made in my comment. Read my comment again and you will note that our Canadian government sells military arms to many countries that are run by greedy, barbarous, and cruel dictatorships. Our government's treatment of our indigenous populations could be called barbarous and cruel. Our health care system is in crisis because our federal and provincial government are not adequately funding it, often with the intent of opening the way for greedy private health care facilities to gain footholds in our health care systems, to the point where I'm sure Tommy Douglas (considered the greatest Canadian according to a national poll because of his instrumental roll establishing universal health care) is rolling over in his grave. You can't have it both ways.

Good points Les, I agree with Max most of the time but on China he is willfully ignorant and the Observer is no better than the CBC in carrying water for the pentagon. This is no accident, the 20 year Afghan grift washed $300 million a day for 20 years and Ukraine is on pace to beat that, it buys near absolute control of western media. But if there is one ray of hope it is that dedollarization is now unstoppable.

Where some see only the US$ billions being directed to arm Ukraine to at least be able to effectively defend itself from a much larger Russian aggressor only as an excuse to enrich the American military industrial complex, Ukrainians on the actual scorched Ukrainian soil see only the mass murder of their families and the levelling of their cities. Mariupol alone saw 87,000 civilians murdered as the city was systematically levelled. The toll on ordinary citizens likely exceeds 150,000 women, children, elderly and non-military men by now, and far exceeds the Ukrainian armed forces toll, both of which will no doubt top 200,000 by war's end.

For what? Denazification? Desatanization? Coal, oil, wheat? The Peter the Great delusions of a little man?

Yes, there are great American sins and historic war crimes, but you cannot possibly apply that narrative to other willing and completely independent military contributors to the Ukrainian effort like Finland, Sweden, the Baltic states, Poland, Romania, and other nations that were either directly under Russia's horrible rule in the past, who are currently threatened by simple dint of territorial proximity, or those like Canada who are diametrically opposed to the blatant assault on the democratic sovereignty aspirations of a European nation using mass murder.

I am partly of Ukrainian descent and willingly contribute directly to Ukrainian humanitarian relief, not through US or Western agencies. I also support a handful of Ukrainian vloggers who are struggling with their families to survive with Russia's deadly daily missile strikes and power outages in freezing weather (another form of mass murder).

Much of this is tailor-made as part of the Russian playbook to create waves of Ukrainian refugees to flood Europe, create chaos and sow discord between EU and NATO countries. It has not worked. In fact, it's drawn democratic nations there closer together and strengthened NATO's defence parameters. This was accomplished not with conspiracies of American hegemony, but by Russia's totalitarian actions.

The American hegemony narrative may still be valid, but it is old news and too cavalierly wielded. Those who still push it today as the ultimate conspiracy are willingly ignorant of, for example, Russia's aggressive empire building and the outright murder of its smaller neighbours while stealing their territory and resources. Are the US and NATO countries supposed to not react, to let Putin have yet more territory and set his eyes next on bombing Moldovan and Romanian citizens? Of further extending the range of its nuclear missile stacked submarines yet deeper into Canada's Arctic island archipelago?

The sins of one superpower do not excuse the sins of another. Further, using the humanitarian crisis created by Russia that severely impacts the underdog (Ukraine) merely as an excuse to argue against Americans misses the point: The nucleus in this conflict is Ukraine, not the US. Points of view that use Ukraine as a pawn to create a talking point about American misdeeds decidedly fuels Putin's propaganda about the West, NATO and, of course, the USA while bunting Ukraine's interests to the sidelines. Further, the comments make disturbingly similar parallels to the Uyghurs.

Some of us with our genealogy in play prefer to be pro-underdog. Millions of other Ukrainian Canadians -- including many with leftist leanings -- will not indulge in worn, standard anti-American narratives, especially when made by those without even a toenail in the conflict, or worse, out of ideological myopia. Naomi Klein's 'Shock Doctrine' is not a bible uttering commandments to fellow believers when your own loved ones are being bombed and where you'll seek help even from the 'Great Satan' just to stay alive. The US may be considered by a beleaguered Ukraine as one friend of many coming to their aid in a time if need, but their central initiative is to become an independent, self-determining member of the multi-nation EU, not an American or Russian puppet.

If the pro-China, anti-US sentiments that also excuse Russian terror in the comments on this thread were part of a complete debate, then Ukrainians and Uyghurs would have been be invited to express their opinions first and foremost and given top consideration.

Les, sadly all of the economic statistics that you can pack into one comment to burnish the image of China vs. Canada mean absolutely nothing to the Uyghur people today.
See Amnesty International 'China 2021'. for a broad overview of the continuing to deteriorate human rights situation in China. https://www.amnesty.org/en/location/asia-and-the-pacific/east-asia/china...
then from Wiki: "Xinjiang genocide" redirects here.
For the 1750s genocide that occurred in the same region, see Dzungar genocide.
The Chinese government has committed a series of ongoing human rights abuses against Uyghurs and other ethnic and religious minorities in Xinjiang that is often characterized as genocide. Since 2014, the Chinese government, under the administration of Chinese Communist Party (CCP) General Secretary Xi Jinping, has pursued policies that incarcerated more than an estimated one million Turkic Muslims in internment camps without any legal process.[3][4][5] Operations from 2016 to 2021 were led by Xinjiang CCP Secretary Chen Quanguo, who dramatically increased the scale and scope of the camps.[6] This is the largest-scale detention of ethnic and religious minorities since World War II.[7][8] Experts estimate that, since 2017, some sixteen thousand mosques have been razed or damaged,[6] and hundreds of thousands of children have been forcibly separated from their parents and sent to boarding schools.[9][10]

Government policies have included the arbitrary detention of Uyghurs in state-sponsored internment camps,[11][12] forced labor,[13][14] suppression of Uyghur religious practices,[15] political indoctrination,[16] severe ill-treatment,[17] forced sterilization,[18] forced contraception,[19][20] and forced abortion.[21][22] Chinese government statistics reported that from 2015 to 2018, birth rates in the mostly Uyghur regions of Hotan and Kashgar fell by more than 60%.[18] In the same period, the birth rate of the whole country decreased by 9.69%.[23] Chinese authorities acknowledged that birth rates dropped by almost a third in 2018 in Xinjiang, but denied reports of forced sterilization and genocide.[24] Birth rates in Xinjiang fell a further 24% in 2019, compared to a nationwide decrease of 4.2%.[18]

These actions have been described as the forced assimilation of Xinjiang, or as an ethnocide or cultural genocide,[25][26] or as genocide. Those accusing China of genocide point to intentional acts committed by the Chinese government that they say run afoul of Article II of the Genocide Convention,[27][28][29] which prohibits "acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part," a "racial or religious group" including "causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group" and "measures intended to prevent births within the group".[30]

The Chinese government denies having committed human rights abuses in Xinjiang.[7][31] In an assessment by the UN Human Rights Office, the United Nations (UN) stated that China's policies and actions in the Xinjiang region may be crimes against humanity, although it did not use the term genocide.[32][33] International reactions have varied. Some UN member states issued statements to the United Nations Human Rights Council condemning China's policies, while others supported China's policies.[34] In December 2020, a case brought to the International Criminal Court was dismissed because the crimes alleged appeared to have been "committed solely by nationals of China within the territory of China, a State which is not a party to the Statute", meaning the ICC couldn't investigate them.[35][36] The United States has declared the human rights abuses a genocide, announcing its finding on January 19, 2021.[37] Legislatures in several countries have since passed non-binding motions describing China's actions as genocide, including the House of Commons of Canada,[38] the Dutch parliament,[39] the House of Commons of the United Kingdom,[40] the Seimas of Lithuania,[41] and the French National Assembly.[42] Other parliaments, such as those in New Zealand,[43] Belgium,[44] and the Czech Republic condemned the Chinese government's treatment of Uyghurs as "severe human rights abuses" or crimes against humanity.[45]

Michael,
I used to believe that propaganda too, then I looked into the sources and it all came back to the CIA/NED.
Doesn't matter where you start be it Adrian Zenz or ASPI or the handful of paid dissidents, it was and remains a misinformation operation, one of many designed to contained China.
I used to believe in Amnesty International, used to trust The Guardian, bought into Obama and thought he was right about Libya. It's all embarrassing to me now because after the Afghanistan papers, when I finally made the effort to follow the money, it all came back to the Pentagon.
But worst of all you're choosing to ignore the reality on the ground in Xinjiang which isn't supported by your beliefs. You, Max, Trudeau and everyone else who buys into the contain-China narrative prescribed for decades by Rand Corp. There is no shortage of contrary documentation so you are just choosing to remain ignorant because you can't handle admitting you were wrong.

Lauren, didn't read the Afghanistan papers, however I did read "In the Camps - China's High-Tech Penal Colony" by Darren Byler. Your characterization of the Uyghur's mass detention for no reason other than their religion and ethnicity as a "misinformation campaign"? and "paid dissidents"? would be truly laughable, if it wasn't just pure propaganda.
"Does China Believe It's Own Propaganda on Uyghurs?"
https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-62766865
"inside A Chinese Propaganda Campaign"
https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2021/06/22/technology/xinjiang-uyghu...

Michael, your concern for the 'oppressed' minorities in China is admirable. I hope that you have just as much concern for Julian Assange, the Australian journalist whose only crime was exposing the hypocrisy, lies, and war crimes committed by the US in Iraq. For that 'crime' he has suffered psychological torture for over a decade now while he was initially held in what effectively was house arrest while taking refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy from attempts by the British government, acting as an underling of the US, to arrest him and extradite him to the US to face charges that could lead to a 175 year prison sentence. Since his forcible removal from the Ecuadorian embassy he has been held in solitary confinement in the notorious Belmarsh prison, a maximum security prison designed to hold the most dangerous criminals like murderers, while awaiting the decision of the British government as to whether to extradite him to the US or not. His crime he committed in Great Britain? - he skipped bail to seek refuge in the embassy because of the danger of being extradited to Sweden for questioning about trumped up charges of sexual assault (charges that have long ago been dropped). He was sentenced by a British court to 50 weeks in prison in 2012 (ten years ago) yet he is still being held in the maximum security prison now. He volunteered to have Swedish prosecution officials interview him in the embassy he took refuge in, but this offer was declined. His reason for not wanting to be extradited to Sweden? - the very real concern that once on Swedish soil, the Swedish government would give in to pressure from the US and extradite him to their custody. During his years of solitary detention he has suffered mental breakdowns and reached the point where his father and his wife worry about the possibility of his committing suicide. All of this for the crime of exposing the war crimes of that bastion of democracy, the US.

I hope you have as much concern for Edward Snowden, the American citizen who was forced to take refuge in Russia after his passport was revoked by the US government while he was passing through Russia on the way to Latin America to seek asylum there. His crime? - revealing to the American public and the world the US government's secret 'Prism' program that basically gave the US government the ability to spy on all of its citizens without their knowledge. Is this the democratic ideal that you are touting in your criticism of China?

I hope you have as much concern for the innocent men who were held without charge for over a decade in Gitmo and other US government black sites in various dictatorships around the world where they suffered physical and psychological torture until they were unceremoniously released with no apologies from the US government.

I hope that you have as much concern for the family of Jamal Khashoggi, the Saudi Arabian journalist who was murdered by the government of Saudi Arabia in their Turkish embassy. Saudi Arabia, the murderous dictatorship that is one of the US's closest allies in the Middle East, the dictatorship where people charged with crimes like adultery are beheaded in public executions, all while being supported financially and by arm sales from the US.

The point that I was originally trying to make, but which appears to have gone over your head, is that in our western government's points of view, countries run by dictatorships are only bad if they don't follow the orders, or threaten the economy, of the 'greatest' democracy and land of the free, the US.

Finally, your quoting the BBC and the New York Times as reliable sources is laughable, considering they were both some of the biggest cheerleaders of : the US's illegal invasion of Iraq under false pretences, in which the US murdered hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians; as well as most of the other crimes of the US government. We have to be careful about what we accept as fact when we are reading sources of news and analysis. Your ability to totally ignore the crimes of our own governments while sanctimoniously criticizing the actions of countries you call dictatorships is astounding to witness. Seek out alternative sources to check on the veracity of claims made by our mainstream media which more and more just parrots the statements made by our governments, which often turn out to be lies. If it wasn't for individuals like Julian Assange, Edward Snowden, Bradley Manning, Daniel Ellsberg, etc, etc, who have suffered greatly for following their consciences, we wouldn't be aware of all the lies that our governments have told us.

Listing human rights violations in China is simply dogged virtue-signalling on the part of the west though, because theirs is an ancient civilization whose cultural evolution has led to valuing stability and collectivism over freedom and individualism. Say what we will, the place is mostly under control and their system has lifted millions out of poverty recently, a massive accomplishment. Even though democracy is a worthy ideal, our finger-wagging simply exposes our hypocrisy because of our own glass houses and because everyone still wants and needs to trade with the most populated country in the world, which is the bottom line. With all that big-dick energy embodying "might is right," it's still very much a guys' game that proves that they are still very much running the world. So the fact that China's leader is still showing up at world meetings is probably as good as it gets, and keeps our enemies close. China has several Achilles heels too, one of which seems to be their deep need for respect and even acceptance.
Trudeau's interaction was obligatory as the head of our government presenting the obligatory criticism that we expect but it did make him a bit of a sacrificial lamb. He stood tall though, literally, which helped unless you're one of the legions of irrational Trudeau haters out there stoked exponentially by right-wing social media. Don't hate him because he's beautiful; he's got the unique, international chops needed for this job and is making us look good. Thanks to him and his chosen ministers, Canada comes off as smooth, classy and united right now.

Tris (some of what you say I agree with) "the legions of irrational Trudeau haters out there stoked exponentially by right-wing social media" however some of it has me head scratching eg. "the place (China) is mostly under control" (as if that is somehow a good thing?) - buy ya, ain't it truth with the detention of + /- one million Uyhgurs.

Unfortunately Michael, part of that "control" I'm referring to includes the Uyhgurs and the whole covid control thing too actually; such decisive actions create that all-important aura of stability that they place a premium on, and we have all heard how Mussolini was popular because he made the trains run on time, and Hitler was properly elected.
I remember Trudeau being pilloried for observing from the perspective of our type of government that the ability of authoritarian countries like China to simply ACT, unfettered, has some appeal relative to our democratic morass, which is ever more fractious thanks to virulent conservatives, and is currently hanging on by a thread. In response we have a left wing preoccupied with "co-leadership and non-binary gender issues." Going high while they go low certainly sounds satisfying; we keep comforting ourselves with that, but what we actually need is some serious "bastards for progressivism" as Bill Maher suggested. Enough "virtue-signalling" and/or "being woke;" we need to wake up and unite to employ OUR collective weight as the majority of decent, fair-minded people who are worried sick about what's happening. The media could start the change by using #TRUTH, what we all desperately long for, thereby abandoning "bothsidesism" to instead call out at EVERY SINGLE turn what has become a truly evil right wing. Their attempt to completely normalize egregious, blatant lying has appalled all of us, but has also left THEM vulnerable. They've gone for broke, so let's break them. I saw a meme with a MAGA hat with the slogan, "Make lying WRONG again."

Thanks for that Tris, you are a very keen observer, and highly articulate. Sorry, I missed the obvious with your "they (China) have things under control" comment. I get it now.

Good post, Tris. It's complex issue. The MIC is bad and so are communist dictatorships. There are no simple solutions. Attacking Trudeau, here, is unwarranted if not foolish. I can't see anyone one in our Conservative party who has even a chance of handling this situation better.

Canada was obliged to pursue extradition hearings. The US, from what I can tell, included a false statement in its formal request for extradition -- so either they did not exercise due diligence or they just decided to set Canada up. Neither situation would be a first.
There are numerous documentaries on various subjects that give glimpses in to Chinese living standards. Suffice it to say much of the housing is not what Canadians would consider to be of acceptable standard. Then again, indigent Canadians in other locales aren't housed acceptably, either.
Pots and kettles, I suppose.

The prior arguments pro and con re: china as compared to "democratic" governments. are flawed and lack nuance. One should never take anything said by Chinese government officials or leaders at face value. China, has many faces (not a pun - but a literal fact) or perhaps masks would be a better description. There is always an intentional or many intentional facets designed to befuddle. Track China's actions, and look behind for the actions they are hiding from you. This culture, these masters of misdirection have been playing these games for millennia and their long game is expected to last for centuries. Endurance is their strategy.

Yes, Betsy - I like your "face(s") analogy. It was actually autocrat Xi feeling that he had lost a modicum of control over his chat with JT on the world stage (one must always play by Xi's rules and his rules alone). Since colouring outside the lines never sits well with their ilk, he had to dress down our PM to show who was in control. Our PM handled himself admirably (unless you are a conservative, then you pounced on JT, make Xi's little tirade all JT's fault - in essence Cons. gladly defend Xi if they can make the public believe Jim was T was at fault.)