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Tory motion calling for action on Huawei, plan to combat Chinese aggression passes

Click to play video 'Erin O’Toole says ‘no greater threat’ to Canada’s interests than China' Erin O’Toole says ‘no greater threat’ to Canada’s interests than China
WATCH: A newly-introduced Conservative motion calls for a response on Chinese aggression, and a decision on Huawei’s involvement, if any, in Canadian 5G networks — both within 30 days. Speaking to reporters in Ottawa, Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole pointed to Chinese influence operations as a key threat to Canada – Nov 17, 2020

A Conservative motion calling for a decision on whether to allow Huawei into Canada’s 5G networks and a plan on combating Chinese aggression has passed in the House of Commons.

The NDP and Bloc Quebecois supported the non-binding motion in a vote Wednesday afternoon.

The opposition motion, which passed 179 to 146 calls on the government to present both plans within 30 days.

Click to play video 'Trudeau votes against Conservatives’ motion on Huawei’s involvement in Canada’s 5G network' Trudeau votes against Conservatives’ motion on Huawei’s involvement in Canada’s 5G network
Trudeau votes against Conservatives’ motion on Huawei’s involvement in Canada’s 5G network – Nov 18, 2020

The Liberal government has delayed deciding on which companies can supply equipment for providers’ 5G networks since China imprisoned two Canadian men, Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, nearly two years ago in apparent retaliation for the RCMP’s arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou on a U.S. extradition warrant.

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However, the motion is not binding and so doesn’t actually order the government to follow through.

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole spoke about the motion on Tuesday and pointed to Chinese influence operations as a key threat to Canada.

Read more: Intimidation of Canadians by China, other countries ‘will not be tolerated’: Champagne

“There is no greater threat today to Canada’s interest than China’s rise,” said O’Toole.

“The democratic world must acknowledge that the approach to China over the last two decades has not worked. In fact, the situation has only gotten worse over recent years.”

Foreign Affairs Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne said in a speech in the House of Commons on Tuesday that attempts by China and other countries to intimidate people on Canadian soil “will not be tolerated,” and suggested criminal charges are possible.

“The Royal Canadian Mounted Police will continue to investigate, with a view to laying charges under the Criminal Code,” Champagne said. “Canadians can be assured their government takes the threat posed by foreign interference activities very, very seriously.”

Click to play video 'Conservatives demand answers on charges laid in connection with China’s ‘Operation Fox Hunt’' Conservatives demand answers on charges laid in connection with China’s ‘Operation Fox Hunt’
Conservatives demand answers on charges laid in connection with China’s ‘Operation Fox Hunt’ – Nov 16, 2020

Five Liberal MPs: Wayne Easter, Nathaniel Erskine-Smith, Ken Hardie, John McKay and Jennifer O’Connell, voted for the motion.

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Three NDP members — Nikki Ashton, Don Davies and Leah Gazan — abstained from voting.

Independent MPs Yasmin Ratansi and Jody Wilson-Raybould voted for the motion, while Marwan Tabbara voted against.

Meanwhile, Canada and its Five Eyes allies have also condemned China for imposing a new set of laws that disqualified four pro-democracy Hong Kong legislators.

They called on China to in a joint statement “stop undermining the right of the people of Hong Kong to elect their representatives in keeping with the Joint Declaration and Basic Law.”

“China’s action is a clear breach of its international obligations under the legally binding, UN-registered Sino-British Joint Declaration,” the statement read.

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“It breaches both China’s commitment that Hong Kong will enjoy a high degree of autonomy and the right to freedom of speech.”

The statement added that China’s new set of rules disqualifying elected legislators “appear part of a concerted campaign to silence all critical voices following the postponement of September’s Legislative Council elections, the imposition of charges against a number of elected legislators, and actions to undermine the freedom of Hong Kong’s vibrant media.”

–With files from Global News’ Hannah Jackson, Global News’ Emerald Bensadoun, Reuters and The Canadian Press