At Home: Canada increases trade with China amidst criticism from human rights activists
David Emerson, Canada’s International Trade Minister, has ended his two-day visit to China this week and feels that despite some mutual political unrest Canada stands to increase its trade with the Communist country.
Many Canadians, as well as international citizens and governments, have shown their displeasure not only with China’s own poor human-rights record but with the support of the Chinese government for Burma’s undemocratic military regime.
While the Canadian government has acknowledged these concerns, Emerson has pushed for continued and increased trade with China, which is currently Canada’s second-largest trading partner after the United States.
According to the CBC, Canada’s exports to China actually grew over the last year regardless of human rights criticisms, and Emerson feels that at a time when China’s economy has become the fastest growing in the world Canada cannot afford to let political issues get in the way of developing stronger economic ties.
Emerson also told the press that he had taken the opportunity to bring up these issues during his meetings in China, although no details were given. The minister said that:
China in my opinion is as open as (it has) ever been to hearing our concerns and being prepared to listen to positive and constructive commentary about areas for improvement whether it’s in the legal system or in dealing with electoral kinds of issues and democracy issues and economic freedoms.
The minister also said that as yet there has been no economic retaliation by China toward Canada for the controversial meeting between Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama. The Dalai Lama seeks to preserve the Tibetan Buddhist culture in a small area that has been ruled by China since 1951, and the Chinese government took offence when many Western leaders met with the spiritual leader last year.
As yet, trade with China continues to rise and no ground has been made in the fight toward a democratic system and a clean human rights record.
In Foreign News: How they skip school in Mexico: industrial strength glue
The mother of ten-year-old Diego Palacios awoke on the first day of the new school term to find her son awake and watching television with his hand glued to his bed. It turns out that Diego had so much fun over the Christmas break that he wanted to stay out of class?and apparently saw this as his only option. Unfortunately for him, the police and paramedics were called after his mother tried unsuccessfully to unstick his hand using water, oil, and finally nail polish.
She was at it for two hours before giving up and calling in the experts. The paramedics were able to remove the glue and send Diego to class on time with an embarrassing story to tell his friends?or a story worthy of hero-worship, depending on the sort of friends he has.
Diego’s mother told Reforma that she couldn’t understand why her son would have gone through so much trouble to miss school, although she did remark that he is ?a good boy but mischievous like all kids.?
Diego said simply, ?I didn’t want to go to school because vacation was so much fun.?
Perhaps the most interesting part of this story comes in the form of reader comments on the Yahoo News site:
At last?something interesting instead of the stupid celeb garbage we usually see! (Teri)
Utter foolishness, a good a$$ whooping would make that kid think twice about not wanting to go to school. (Vaynard)
This could be my son. He tells me all sorts of stories to get out of going to school. I wish I could just keep him home and make him happy. (siobhan256)
It’s amazing how differently people can react to the same story! Diego’s hand is fine and he received no injuries from his rather innovative glue stunt.