This agreement following hard on the treaty Canada signed with China last month to exchange information on Customs investigations, suggest that Canada is making significant concessions to demands from the People's Republic of China without any assurance of reciprocal concessions on the part of the PRC in response to our concerns about market access and human rights. For example, we have not asked that China respond positively by resolving the consular case of Kevin and Julia Garratt prior to our announcing the above two agreements with China.
Both of these agreements are highly problematic for Canada. "The return of property related to people who would have fled to Canada and would have been involved in corrupt activities", as Ambassador Saint-Jacques puts it is a noble goal consistent with Canadian values. But the issue is when the Chinese government informs us that the bank accounts and property of a Chinese person in Canada are the proceeds of criminal activity in China. How can we fairly assess this claim before seizing the assets of the alleged criminal and handing them over to the Chinese agency that has demanded them?
In Canada we demand full due process of law for everyone in our country whether Canadian or Chinese. The main reason we do not have an extradition treaty with China is because we do not trust the evidentiary basis for claims of criminality by the PRC regime. That will be the case so long as China has no independent judiciary.
Presently the police and the judges must submit to the authority of "Political and Legal Committees" of the Chinese Communist Party. We therefore have concerns that these requests to Canada to strip the assets of Chinese people in Canada and repatriate them to China may be more informed by political factors related to factional struggle within the Chinese Communist Party than purely legal claims.
That being said hopefully the text of this agreement and of the customs agreement will both be made public soon so that they can be assessed independently and enter into the public debate over Canada's foreign relations with China.