Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Conditions for Canada Getting "Approved Destination Status" for Tourism from China

I have heard from many sources the view expounded by DFAIT that the the sole barrier to China extending Approved Destination Status" is Canada's inability to return Mr. Lai Changxing back to China to face charges of smuggling, bribery and tax evasion.

The larger issue though is that the reason that Mr. Lai has not been returned to China is because of the ruling by Mr. Justice Yves de Montigny that contains two main elements:
1. doubt about the Chinese Government assurance that Mr. Lai will not face the death penalty if sent back for trial. Mr. Lai's own brother has died in prison under unclear circumstances. But possibly more importantly is the issue of how a diplomatic note issued by the Government of China can anticipate the result of a judicial process in a nation where the death penalty is applicable to serious economic crimes.
2. doubt that Mr. Lai can get due process of law in China. This is why Canada and China cannot negotiate an Extradition Treaty. The rules of evidence in China do not meet international judicial standards. Due to a 1988 Supreme Court of Canada decision, Mr. Lai as a foreign national enjoys the protection of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms the same as Canadian citizens do.

So the issue is larger than simply the Lai case. If the Canadian courts agree to return Mr. Lai to China to face charges this will have significant implications for all the large number of Chinese citizens who like Mr. Lai are alleged to have committed crimes in China and who are currently in Canada as Convention refugees unable to be made accountable for what they may have done before they arrived in Canada.

The barrier to Approved Destination Status for Chinese citizens to come to Canada as tourists rests with our Refugee determination process as a whole. The Lai case is simply one expression of a larger issue in Canada-China relations.

I discuss this at further length in my long report on Canada-China relations which can be read at

This matter was also discussed by me and Neil Tait of the Bank of Montreal on the TV program "The Agenda with Steve Paikin" on March 19. See

No comments: