Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault says he raised human rights concerns during his recent trip to China, but did not confirm whether he addressed Beijing’s foreign interference in Canada.
Mr. Guilbeault, who recently returned from a trip to China to participate in the Beijing-led Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development (CCICED), was questioned by independent journalist Keean Bexte on whether he had taken the opportunity during his visit to bring up concerns about the regime’s foreign interference in Canada.
In a video
posted Sept. 8 on X, formerly known as Twitter, Mr. Bexte asked the minister, “Did you ask your colleagues on the Chinese Communist Party climate committee whether or not they would quit interfering in Canadian democracy, or did you leave that alone?”
“I have spoken with human rights issues when I was in China just last week,” Mr. Guilbeault responded.
As Mr. Bexte persisted in asking whether Mr. Guilbeault addressed the issue of “Canadian democracy,” the minister turned to other journalists and said “next question” in French.
Mr. Guilbeault is an executive vice chairperson within the CCICED, an organization tasked
with providing environmental policy recommendations to the CCP. Canada retains the privilege
of appointing an executive vice chairperson at the CCICED due to its co-establishment of the organization in 1992 and its status as its largest international donor. Past Canadian environment ministers have also served in this capacity.
There is limited information available
about the specifics of Mr. Guilbeault’s participation in the CCICED meeting, as no public comments on his trip have been made. While a CCICED schedule indicated that he was slated to deliver remarks on Aug. 28, it seems that his speech was not publicly broadcast. Although Chinese state media extensively covered the event, Mr. Guilbeault was mentioned in only one article by Xinhua News Agency, published on Aug. 26, prior to the forum.
Mr. Guilbeault made a surprise appearance at Quebec City’s convention centre on Sept. 8, where the Conservative Party national convention was taking place. During his statement to reporters, he criticized Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre for his stance on climate change.
Mr. Guilbeault, however, did not offer a direct response when questioned by a reporter
about why the Liberal government opted to implement a carbon tax, potentially “putting Canadians into energy poverty,” despite Canada’s carbon emissions accounting for less than 2 percent of global emissions.
Noé Chartier contributed to this report.