Does the NDP want war with China? Party officials would deny it, but they are promoting measures that increase the likelihood of an apocalyptic conflict.
In recent weeks the NDP has jumped on the ‘China interference’ bandwagon. In dozens of statements Jagmeet Singh, Heather McPherson, Peter Julian, Alexandre Boulerice and other party officials have hyped the issue. (It’s absurd to imply that Chinese influence in Canada is greater or more nefarious than US or Israeli influence.) After Global News’ Sam Cooper reported a CSIS leak claiming that Liberal MP Han Dong lobbied the Chinese consular in Toronto to keep Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig in jail Singh called for Han to be expelled from the Liberal caucus. “These are extremely serious allegations,” the NDP leader tweeted. “If true, the safety of Canadians was put at risk for political gain. Prime Minister Trudeau must remove Han Dong from Caucus and these allegations must be thoroughly investigated. There must be a public inquiry.”
Cooper’s incoherent claim is unlikely to be true and even notoriously anti-China Globe and Mail reporters Robert Fife and Steven Chase refused to publish the allegations. Han is suing Global News for defamation. (Author of a book attacking China, when Cooper relayed unverified intelligence agency claims that leftist Consortium News was operating as a Russian agent it also sparked a lawsuit.)
The NDP is demonstrating a remarkable level of trust in leaks from an intelligence agency that lied about Maher Arar, Abousfian Abdelrazik and many others. The party also amplified a spurious Royal Canadian Mounted Police announcement regarding Chinese Canadian community groups in Montréal. In response to the RCMP announcing the investigation into the Service à la Famille Chinoise du Grand Montréal and the Sino-Quebec Centre for operating Chinese police offices NDP deputy leader Alexandre Boulerice told the press in French, “How come there can be agents of a foreign state who come here to intimidate, maybe threaten? I think there is no country in the world, no democracy in the world, that can accept that.” Ten days ago 40 rallied in Montréal’s Chinatown to defend the targeted community organizations and condemn the police for stoking the anti-China climate by publicly announcing an investigation into decades-old community groups (the vast majority of RCMP investigations are not announced to the press).
The NDP’s anti-China policy isn’t new. The party’s 2021 election platform declared, “a New Democrat government will stand up to China with a strong and coherent strategy to defend Canadian interests at home and abroad. We will work with our allies to lead a robust and coordinated international response to China’s disregard of the rule of law.” China was the only country mentioned in its foreign policy statement except for Palestine/Israel and it received one of 12 paragraphs towards the top of the statement (Palestine was near the bottom).
The NDP pushed the Liberals to ban the world’s largest 5G network provider, Huawei, from building its cutting-edge broadband in Canada because it’s a Chinese firm. On two occasions NDP MPs voted to declare that China was committing genocide against Uyghurs. The party also pushed for a diplomatic boycott of the February 2022 Beijing Olympics and Singh suggested Canadian athletes could be in danger if they participated. They’ve also called for sanctions on Chinese officials.
Alongside playing up the idea that China is ‘bad’, they’ve openly supported a militarized containment policy. Three months ago the NDP published Canada’s “Indo-Pacific Strategy is a step forward; New Democrats will hold government accountable”. In approving the Trudeau government’s plan to ratchet up tensions with China, the NDP says “Canada can take steps to counterbalance China’s disruptive power.”
To counter China the Indo-Pacific Strategy says Canada will “augment its naval presence, including by increasing the number of frigates deployed on to the region where it will conduct forward naval presence operations.” In the strategy paper, half a billion dollars is allocated to bolstering Canada’s military and spy network in the region.
The NDP has backed Washington’s bid to stoke tension over Taiwan, which Canada officially considers part of China. McPherson is scheduled to travel to Taiwan on April and last spring she called “for Taiwan to be included in the World Health Assembly”. In 2021 the NDP complained about the Trudeau government pressuring the Washington-based Halifax International Security Forum (HSF) not to give its John McCain Prize for Leadership in Public Service to Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen. Then NDP foreign critic Jack Harris labeled any interference in the HSF award choice as “shameful and plays into the hands of the Communist leadership of China.” Harris also told Globe and Mail reporter Steven Chase that the award to Tsai would be “an indicator of how the free world is united against China’s bullying tactics.”
NDP statements and votes have paved the way for increasing conflict with the world’s most populous state. Six weeks ago four-star Air Force General Mike Minihan, head of US Air Mobility Command, told his troops that the US’ economic war is likely to turn into a shooting conflict, probably over Taiwan, within two years. In their recent budget the US allocated $10 billion over five years in arms to Taiwan while hundreds of US troops are stationed on the island.In “US secures deal on Philippines bases to complete arc around China” the BBC’s Rupert Wingfield-Hayes reported last month that “the US has secured access to four additional military bases in the Philippines – a key bit of real estate which would offer a front seat to monitor the Chinese in the South China Sea and around Taiwan. With the deal, Washington has stitched the gap in the arc of US alliances stretching from South Korea and Japan in the north to Australia in the south. The US has over 100,000 troops stationed around China.
At the end of October the head of the Canadian military, Wayne Eyre, told Parliament that China and Russia considered themselves at war with the West and two weeks later added that those two nations will increasingly challenge Canada’s “tenuous hold” over its territory in the Arctic. Simultaneously, the Chief of Defence Staff called for industry to be placed on “wartime footing” and for military planners to prepare for a WWII style conflict.
Supporting war with China wouldn’t be unprecedented for the NDP. The NDP’s predecessor, the CCF, immediately supported the horrific war in Korea, which was partly a response to Mao’s victory the year before and ultimately pitted the US-led forces against the Chinese.
Rather than placing a brake on the US empire’s bid to contain China’s rise, the NDP has repeatedly pushed the Liberal government to become more belligerent towards the world’s most populous state. Why? A good argument can be made that it is Canada’s economic self-interest to have two superpowers to play off each other. Instead, the NDP has jumped into bed with US neocons whose prime concern is that the US continue to dominate the world even if it means world war.
Is this the NDP’s endpoint as well?