Prime Minister Justin Trudeau lectured the Conservatives about “anti-Asian racism” and “tolerance” during Question Period on Wednesday when asked about protecting Canadian research institutions from Chinese foreign influence. 

Recently, the Globe and Mail revealed that at least seven scientists from Winnipeg’s National Microbiology Laboratory collaborated with China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) on infectious disease studies while working in Canada. 

Trudeau made the comments after Conservative MP Candice Bergen pressed him on whether his government was willing to cut research ties with the Chinese communist regime. 

“Well the problem is – and the prime minister maybe does not realize this – is communist China cannot be trusted. I know he admires their basic dictatorship, I know he likes to do fundraisers with them over the years, I know he thought they were the first go to for vaccines but at this point we would hope that he would learn a lesson and put the safety, security and protection of Canadians above this fascination he has with the communist regime,” said Bergen. 

“So again, will he commit to ending this research and this cooperation with this regime that not only does not have our interest in mind but actually wants to hurt Canada?” 

“Yes from the beginning of my career onwards I have worked with many Chinese-Canadians and indeed had fundraisers with them and the rise in anti-Asian racism we’re seeing over the past number of months should be of concern to everyone,” replied Trudeau.

“I would recommend to members of the Conservative Party in their zeal to make personal attacks, not start to push too far into intolerance towards Canadians of diverse origins. We will continue to stand up to defend Canadians interests, Canadians security, we will continue to make sure that we are doing everything we can to keep Canadians safe while participating in the global research community and stand up for tolerance and diversity.” 

Following Trudeau’s statement, Conservative MP Kenny Chiu slammed the prime minister for his “despicable statements” and accused him of playing into Chinese propaganda. 

As reported by True North, the Chinese regime has used accusations of racism in the past as a way to deflect legitimate criticisms. 

“We’ve seen them conflate credible critiques with charges of racism and it’s silly to do that and they’re growing sharper and more immature in how they’re responding to it,” Macdonald-Laurier Institute’s Munk Senior Fellow for Foreign Policy Shuvaloy Majumdar told True North.