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RFI: Canada Is No Longer Training with the PLA

On December 10, Harjit Sajjan, Canada’s Minister of National Defense, said that Canada is no longer training with the Chinese military. Prior to this, James Bezan, Opposition Critic for National Defense, questioned why Prime Minister Justin Trudeau would maintain such a relationship with China.

According to the Globe and Mail, the Trudeau administration invited the PLA to a joint military exercise at the Canadian Forces Base in 2019. The exercise was called off following the arrest of two Canadian citizens in China because Canada detained Meng Wanzhou, Huawei’s  Chief Financial Officer. Trudeau reportedly raged at the cancellation of the military exercises. For decades, the Canadian armed forces have participated in various joint and regional military exercises with more than 20 Pacific Rim countries. It is unknown whether Canada would consider a joint training with the PLA in the future. The statement that Sajjan issued stated that “our government always stands up for Canadians at home and abroad and this includes our relationship with China, but let me be very clear. We we do not train with the Chinese military.”

The disclosed document also suggested that Trudeau’s administration was concerned that China would take the cancellation “as a retaliatory move related to the Meng Wanzhou case” and it “could also damage Canada’s long-term defense and security relationship with China”

At the same time, the military exercise drew criticism from the Conservative Party. Michael Chong, the foreign affairs critic of the opposition Conservative Party, and James Bezan, the defence critic, said the documents showed a “stunning lack of leadership” from Trudeau and the Liberal government. They said in a statement, “Clearly, the Prime Minister and the Liberal ministers are more concerned about how Beijing might react than they are in defending Canadian interests. The Liberal government has become so timid that it can’t even say no to Chinese soldiers arriving on our territory.”

According to a disclosed memo, the U.S. Pentagon had already pressed the Canadian Armed Forces to rethink interactions with the PLA because that the PLA would benefit from it.

The Canadian Forces Base is located in Petawawa, Ontario, bordering the states of New York, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota.

Source: Radio France Internationale, December 12, 2020