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Premier to travel to China again, to ‘maximize’ N.S. exports despite unrest

Despite rising tensions in China Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil says his next trip to that country is only weeks away. Although he’s aware of the detention of Canadians and the human rights concerns in Hong Kong – McNeil says his trip is solely to promote the province’s economic interests. Jeremy Keefe brings us that report.

Premier Stephen McNeil announced Tuesday that he’s planning another trip to China to fortify seafood exports, specifically lobsters.

The trip is being planned as China deals with its civil unrest and is continuing to detain two Canadians.

“We need to go over to connect those ties to drive economic opportunities for the private sector and ensure we’re maximizing markets that will provide good paying jobs,” McNeil said.

READ MORE: Nova Scotia to build ‘100% China-friendly’ website, navigate censorship in bid to grow commerce

The opposition says not only are the premier’s numerous trips to China unnecessary, but that a major opportunity is being ignored with each endeavor.

“The premier is definitely sending the wrong message,” said Tim Houston, N.S. PC leader.

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“When he goes over there he should at least mention to them – like he’s been asked by the national government – to at least raise the discussion about the Canadians there,” he said.

Trudeau to recruit international support for Canadian detainees in China
Trudeau to recruit international support for Canadian detainees in China

McNeil has previously denied being asked by the federal government to bridge the gap for them, although he has admitted that some discussion with the Canadian embassy has taken place.

He said he’ll ultimately leave the national level diplomatic talks to the country leaders.

READ MORE: China’s ambassador makes second trip to Nova Scotia, calls McNeil ‘great friend’

“The national government is working its way through dealing with national governments, not only here, the one to the south and ones in other parts of the world,” McNeil said.

“My job as the premier is to continue to make sure that I open up markets for the private sector to sell their products,” he added.

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McNeil said he expects his next China trip to take place in early November.