O’Toole clarifies gun policy, leaders talk about Chinese detention of two Michaels

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Canada’s party leaders entered the fourth week of the federal election campaign by expressing their support for the families of two men detained in China for 1,000 days.

Sunday also saw the Liberals step up their attacks on Conservative leader Erin O’Toole over her apparent about-face on a platform pledge to repeal an “assault-style” gun ban introduced the year. last and submit it to scrutiny if he forms the government after the September 20 election.

Hours before O’Toole, who has faced days of questions about his gun policy, made his remarks, Trudeau addressed the issue by defending his government’s action on gun control. guns in the Greater Toronto Area.

He has vowed to further tighten measures imposed last year by limiting the number of cartridges large-capacity gun magazines can hold and providing $ 1 billion to provinces wishing to ban handguns.

But Trudeau began his remarks in Markham, Ont., Acknowledging that Sunday had been difficult for those close to Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor as they marked the thousandth day of their incarceration in Chinese prisons.

“I can assure you that over the past 1,000 days this government has put forward all the different tools at our disposal to pressure the Chinese government to send Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor back to our allies for influence them and make them stand up for us, ”Trudeau said.

“We were much more successful than the previous government because we use all the tools at our disposal, generally without shouting in the public square. We generally look and pressure these countries in a variety of ways to make sure we can get Canadians home quietly and effectively. “

Chinese authorities detained the men in what Canada believes to be retaliation for the RCMP’s arrest of Huawei Technologies chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou in December 2018 as she passed through the Vancouver airport.

She was arrested following an extradition request from the United States, where officials want her prosecuted for allegedly violating U.S. sanctions against Iran.

New Democratic Party Leader Jagmeet Singh on Sunday renewed his calls for Canada to work with its international allies to do everything possible to free the men who are now known as the “two Michaels”.

“I can’t even imagine what it is for Mr. Kovrig and Mr. Spavor, for their families, for their loved ones,” he said from Ottawa, where he pledged to raise rates of vaccination against COVID-19 and to amend the Criminal Code. to better protect healthcare workers.

“A thousand days in pretty horrific conditions, without access to human rights, without access to the same dignity you would expect in a criminal justice system here in Canada. ”


RELATED: Kovrig and Spavor Supporters March to Support Release of Prisoners, as China Opposes


The Liberal government has been criticized by some for its handling of the ongoing detentions of Kovrig and Spavor.

Conservatives, in particular, have said the liberals have been lenient with their policy towards a more authoritarian China and have vowed to take a tougher approach if they win the election.

In his electoral platform, O’Toole pledges to negotiate new trade agreements with the countries of the Indo-Pacific and Africa so that Canada does not have to depend so much on China, as well as on work with international allies in the hope of “decoupling” their supply chains from the Chinese regime.

The Conservatives also promise to ban Huawei from Canada’s 5G infrastructure and advise against universities partnering with “state-controlled” Chinese companies.

“I have often said that China may be much bigger in terms of population and economy, but it can learn a lot from us when it comes to commitment to human rights, dignity and the rule of law, ”O’Toole said during a campaign stop. in Vancouver.

“Our sanctions would aim to underscore the fact that the two Michaels are in prison as diplomatic pawns. This is unacceptable for a country that presents itself as a world leader. We would like to push the communist regime to do better.

While campaigning in British Columbia on the promise to put more RCMP officers in communities to fight gangs and drugs, O’Toole made it clear that if he formed the government, a ban on 2020 that the Liberals imposed on certain reclassified firearms would remain in place.

In May 2020, the Trudeau government banned some 1,500 gun models, including the popular AR-15 rifle and the Ruger Mini-14, used in some of the country’s deadliest shootings.

O’Toole had promised to repeal the executive order that instituted the ban, but after days of Liberal attacks on reaching a deal with the country’s gun lobby, he clarified the ban would remain. in force. He did, however, pledge to conduct a review of Canada’s firearms classification system if elected.

The Liberals seized on that promise, saying it offered a nod and a nudge to groups representing gun owners that he intended to honor his pledge to repeal the existing law.


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