Ottawa considering increasing China travel risk warnings for Canadians
OTTAWA – The federal government is considering increasing the risk level for Canadian travellers to China, CTV News has learned.
The prospect of issuing a travel warning for Canadians in China, or for those journeying to China, is being considered among other options.
No final decision has been made about whether this is a step that will be taken, and talks were ongoing as of Tuesday evening.
“Global Affairs has a global surveillance system to identify changing risks and threats to Canadian interests, and to Canadians travelling virtually on an hourly basis, 24 hours a day. So they are watching this one very carefully,” Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said on CTV’s Power Play.
Canadian sources say the primary concern is Canadians’ safety, given possible arbitrary measures taken by China. The country has warned Canada of consequences for arresting a prominent Chinese telecommunications executive in Vancouver on Dec.1, at the request of the United States government.
Then today, news of former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig being detained in China surfaced. Global Affairs Canada and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau confirmed the situation and said Canadian officials have been in “direct contact” with Chinese diplomats and representatives.
“We are engaged in a file which we take very seriously and we are of course providing consular assistance to the family," Trudeau told reporters before question period.
Speaking to this arrest, Goodale said that as far as Canada is aware, there is “no logical, plausible explanation” as to why Kovrig had been arrested.
The government is mindful that issuing the travel warning could increase already tense diplomatic relations with China.
With files from CTV News’ Ottawa Bureau Chief Joyce Napier and Michel Boyer