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“(I) talked about the challenges, but also talked about the fact that Canada is not immune to criticisms on human rights, either,” he said during an on-stage interview during the event, hosted by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong.
“The perspective that a lot of countries have is, ‘Well, you know, foreign countries or foreign observers shouldn’t be criticizing what are internal matters to us.”‘
He said he pointed out how a United Nations rapporteur put out a “scathing report” a few years ago on Canada’s treatment of Indigenous Peoples, of missing and murdered aboriginal women and girls and other challenges.
His primary goal of the visit was to strengthen commercial ties with the Chinese regime. He repeated his argument Tuesday that Ottawa’s connection to China was “hot and cold” when the Conservatives were in power.
On Tuesday, his interviewer asked him how he balances the two.
His appearance Tuesday in Hong Kong followed a landmark election result in the southern Chinese city over the weekend that saw a group of young pro-democracy activists win seats in the local legislature.
The activists, who helped lead huge pro-democracy street protests two years ago, intend to change the rules on how the city is governed by China’s leaders. It could set off a fresh showdown with Beijing.
Asked how Canada might engage with China on behalf of Hong Kong, Trudeau was cautious.
“I’m going to use a line that I’ve been able to use a few times regarding our neighbours to the south: Canada will work with whoever gets elected and forms government in foreign jurisdictions,” he said.
“Canada is an influential nation with 300,000 Canadians living in Hong Kong,” said Work, a Canadian who has lived in the Chinese city for 20 years.
“We need to draw in global investment as a way of being able to properly develop our resources in ways that are going to create a lot of jobs in Canada,” Trudeau said during the on-stage exchange with Bloomberg TV anchor Angie Lau.
“Yes, we have to think about it in terms of what are the benefits, what are the labour standards, what are the environmental impacts?. But I don’t think that anyone can imagine that we would do better by closing ourselves off from the world.”
Earlier Tuesday, Trudeau visited the mountainside Sai Wan War Cemetery to pay homage to Canadian soldiers who died after fighting to defend Hong Kong from a Japanese invasion during the Second World War.
There are 283 Canadians buried at the cemetery, 107 of whom were never identified.
The prime minister also held a meeting with Leung Chun-ying, chief executive of Hong Kong, at his residence.