Conservative Party leader Erin O’Toole called for tougher actions by Canada to address the mass-detainment of Uyghurs by the Chinese Communist Party. 

O’Toole addressed the issue during a press conference Wednesday afternoon where he announced the makeup of his House of Commons leadership team. 

“The situation with the Uyghurs is horrific and the world should no longer be silent just to grow exports,” said O’Toole.

“I think it’s time for some Canadian leadership and we’re never going to get that from Mr. Trudeau.” 

In conversation with True North, fellow Conservative MP Garnett Genuis blasted Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for proroguing parliament which effectively put an end to the investigation being conducted by the Special Committee on Canada-China Relations.

“It’s really frustrating that now that committee cannot meet because of the prorogation. That’s just one area where, in terms of shutting down the work of parliamentary committees, the prorogation also killed the Canada-China committee which cuts short the important work being done,” Genuis told True North.

“We need to pass tough new legislation to ensure that we are not importing or buying products that have slave labour in them and also that Canadian entities are not invested in security companies that are facilitating this genocide.” 

According to a 2019 report by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI), an estimated 1.5 million Uyghurs are facing forcible confinement at the hands of Chinese officials in re-education camps. 

In May, Uyghur rights advocates called on the Trudeau government to stop a deal with Chinese tech giant Huawei to develop Canada’s 5G network citing the company’s involvement in facilitating surveillance and detention of Uyghurs. 

“Given the evidence that Huawei plays an integral part of the massive surveillance state in East Turkistan and the constant harassment the Uyghurs in Canada witness, this leaves us with legitimate concerns about Huawei’s 5G technology being used to target even more the Uyghurs in Canada,” Program & Advocacy Manager of the World Uyghur Congress Zumretay Arking told True North.

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