Government of Canada Must Condemn China’s Immoral & Illegal Use of Forced Labour

St. Stephen, New Brunswick – The Official Opposition’s Shadow Minister for Labour, John Williamson, issued the following statement in support of an international campaign – led by worker unions and NGOs – calling on global brands to reject the use of forced labour in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region:

“China’s Xinjiang province, in the country’s frontier northwest corner, has been the subject of a growing number of credible reports confirming that forced labour camps in the region are operating in partnership with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). These labour camps are used to manufacture goods for export. This is a violation of human rights as well as the most basic civilized norms and is added evidence China is an untrustworthy trading nation.

“Canadians expect their government to oppose forced labour, defend the rights of workers and principles of fair trade, and speak out against exploitative trade practices and cases of human slavery.”

Human rights, unions and civil organizations called on apparel brands to stop sourcing from the Xinjiang region within 12 months.

The Chinese government has rounded up 1 million to 1.8 million people in detention and forced-labor camps and is committing crimes against humanity, including torture, forced separation of families and compulsory sterilization of women.

MP Williamson added, “At home in Canada, many provincial Premiers have redoubled their efforts to restore manufacturing jobs as onshoring and nearshoring become business and public policy priorities. These are important initiatives to renew opportunities for Canadian workers. Unfortunately, the Liberals’ complacency with regards to Beijing only serves to undercut these efforts and emboldens corporate entities that continue to exploit human slavery for profit. Ethical labour must be a key part of Canada’s global response to the Coronavirus.”

“I call on Minister of Global Affairs François-Philippe Champagne to launch an independent investigation into forced labour camps operating in Xinjiang. As well, Canada’s new United Nations ambassador should work to reverse Beijing’s appointment to a seat on the Consultative Group of the United Nations Human Rights Council.”

Prime Minister Trudeau has spent the past five-years extolling and overstating the importance of China to our nation’s well-being. He wrongly promotes a free-trade deal with this totalitarian regime as a key tenant of Canada’s foreign policy and has been largely silent on Beijing’s actions to crackdown on democratic expression.

The Liberals must end their practice of prioritizing mainland China’s interests in order to “get along” with Beijing. Now, more than ever, Canada needs a principled foreign policy that promotes freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law abroad.

For more information about the End Uyghur Forced Labour campaign please click here:


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Press Release