The Conservative Party introduced a motion in the Canadian parliament Thursday to declare the human rights abuses of the minority Uighur Muslims by China as genocide.
The motion was debated and while it has a good chance of passing despite the qualms of the Justin Trudeau government to use the genocide label, the vote on the motion will not take place until Monday.
Michael Chong, the foreign affairs critic for the opposition Conservatives, said there is no doubt the Chinese government actions constitute genocide against the Turkic-speaking Uighurs, although Beijing vehemently denies the mistreatment.
Upward of one million Uighurs are being held by Chinese government in concentration camps where witnesses report they are subjected to sexual violence, "deradicalization", birth limiting measures and are under constant surveillance.
"The evidence is clear," Chong said Thursday. "A genocide is taking place and Canada should not evade its responsibility. We must show leadership. We must take a stand."
The other political parties – the Bloc Quebecois, Green and New Democrats – all spoke in favor of the motion Thursday.
If they combine and join the Conservatives to vote in favor of the motion, it will pass, since Prime Minister Trudeau leads a minority Liberal government.
But while Foreign Affairs Minister Marc Garneau said Thursday that the abuses of the Uighurs are "alarming," he was reluctant for Canada to apply the genocide label without the official support of other countries.
Rather, Garneau said he would like to employ a team of independent investigators, with the backing of other allies, to go to the camps to see the abuses for themselves and report back.
Trudeau himself is on record as calling genocide an "extremely loaded" term.
Despite Trudeau’s words, a House of Commons committee headed by a Liberal has investigated the Uighur situation and said it meets the definition of genocide as stated in the Genocide Convention of 1948./aa