CACN – Parliamentary Context - Nov 16, 2020

CACN Ministerial Appearance on the Situation in Hong Kong

Background and Logistics

On October 27, 2020, the Special Committee on Canada-China Relations (CACN) invited Minister Mendicino to appear on November 16, 2020, between 6:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. in view of its study on the situation in Hong Kong. During the meeting, the Minister will deliver a five minute opening statement and respond to questions relating to immigration and refugees from CACN members. The Minister will stay for the first hour, accompanied by IRCC officials and officials will stay for a second hour and continue with questions. Of note, the meeting will take place via Zoom videoconference and the Committee has experienced delays in past meetings as a result of technical issues.

A similar study on special immigration and refugee measures to provide a safe haven to the people of Hong Kong facing persecution under the new National Security Law may be undertaken at the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration (CIMM) at a later date, as a motion was moved and adopted on October 20, 2020, by MP Kwan, including a potential Ministerial Appearance.

Environmental Analysis

In the first and second sessions of the current Parliament, CACN interviewed a variety of witnesses on the situation in Hong Kong. Overall, parties are aligned on a number of issues, including the safety of Canadians and the protection of those fleeing persecution. Recent discussions are focused on:

Stakeholders have generally been aligned in recommending that the Government of Canada should develop a refugee policy for the people of Hong Kong and their families. Some requested that protected person or permanent resident status be provided upon arrival. Barriers to leaving Hong Kong, such as the lack of citizenship, pandemic restrictions and advanced visa requirements, were also discussed.

A number of stakeholders equally recommended that a travel warning and/or advisory be issued for China and spoke to the great personal risk and potential grave consequences faced by Canadian citizens whether or not they currently reside in Hong Kong.

The Conservative party has been the most active on China and Hong Kong issues, both during House debates and in committee meetings. Members often speak of hostage diplomacy such as that of the two Michaels and setting up an immigration lifeboat scheme for Hong Kong, all while asking about the possible reciprocity of China. Members have presented a number of petitions calling on the government to acknowledge the persecution of Uyghurs in China and to implement Magnitsky-style sanctions. When speaking of the arrests of activists in Hong Kong by the Chinese Communist Party, members stress the importance of a clear plan to help Hong Kong's pro-democracy refugees and their families.

New Democrats have focused on the need to develop special new measures, either in the immigration stream or in the asylum stream, for the people of Hong Kong and share enthusiasm for extending a lifeboat to the people of Hong Kong who are facing persecution under the National Security Law.

The Bloc Quebecois have recently shared their concern regarding the security of 300,000 Canadians living in Hong Kong and the Chinese government’s non-recognition of dual citizenships. Members have also been vocal on limitations in Canada’s deployed efforts to help the exit of activists from Hong Kong and the need to better facilitate the exit of activists that may not have the means to leave for Canada.

Liberal members have discussed potential refugee policies for individuals fleeing persecution and raised concerns regarding barriers such as the lack of a valid passport or travel documents, preventing individuals from returning to Canada. The Minister has been consistent in his messaging on Hong Kong, with statements on standing shoulder to shoulder with its people, standing up for Canadians in Hong Kong, and grave concerns about the National Security Law. Recently, the Liberal Party indicated that immigration measures with respect to Hong Kong would be announced.

Interventions of Note (Paraphrased)

Recent CPC interventions:

Recent LPC interventions:

Recent BQ interventions:

Recent NDP interventions:

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