In 2018, Canada had allowed members of the PLA to observe the Canadian military’s winter survival training on a Canadian military base. As per the report requested by Canadian journalist Ezra Levant of Rebel News where he had asked the Canadian government for information on a specific Canada-China military engagement, he got back was 34 pages detailing a specific moment in Canadian bureaucratic history. 

It was evident and quite shocker that the Canadian Armed Forces was debating with Global Affairs Canada (GAC), over whether to engage with the PLA. Both the countries Canada-China relations had their past of bad ties. Canada arrested China’s Meng Wanzhou in response to an extradition request by the US. Meng was an executive at Huawei and the daughter of the founder. Earlier this month US Justice Department officials and Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou were currently negotiating a possible plea deal that would allow her to return to China from Canada, the Wall Street Journal reported citing people familiar with the situation.

The report said that in exchange for going home, Meng would have to admit wrongdoing in her criminal case related to alleged violations of US sanctions on Iran on Huawei’s behalf. She faces wire and bank fraud charges. Similarly on 10 December 2018, China arrested two Canadians, now known as the “Two Michaels”, in now what is widely considered an overt case of hostage “diplomacy”.

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“Hug a PLA soldier and ride off on a unicorn into a trust-based sunset together” became a famous tagline to describe the relations between Canada and China. But at the same time, it didn’t mean that the Canadian government didn’t know what was going on in China. Canada was very much aware of the Chinese use of facial recognition, torture of Uyghurs, and media intimidation.