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In an interview with Quebec’s France 24 and RFI, Canadian Foreign Minister François-Philippe Champagne reflects on the global shockwave of the George Floyd affair in the United States and denounces “systemic” racism that persists in Canada. He also speaks about his country’s tensions with China and advocates strengthening multilateralism, which has been at half-mast since the health crisis.
In an interview with France 24 and RFI, Canadian Foreign Minister François-Philippe Champagne says his country is “horrified” by the images of the murder of George Floyd in the United States. He is pleased that this has led to a global upswing.
“Canadians were horrified when they saw the images where we saw George Floyd on the ground with the police officer’s knee. I think these images have sent the world into an uproar,” explained François-Philippe Champagne on France 24 and RFI. “Even in Canada (…), a multicultural, very inclusive country where diversity is one of Canada’s great riches for us, there is systemic racism. We recognize that there is still systemic racism here, and I think the big message is that we must not only denounce racism, but we must act.”
According to him, the Prime Minister Justin Trudeau believes in the need not only to denounce racism, but also to act. The latter took part in a demonstration in Ottawa on Friday, June 5, kneeling on the ground for 8 minutes and 46 seconds during George Floyd’s ordeal.
Watch: “When asked about Trump, Justin Trudeau remains silent and then claims to be following the situation in the United States with “horror.”
Regarding the tensions with China following the arrest of a Huawei executive in Canada requested by the United States, François-Philippe Champagne reiterates that the extradition process will continue in compliance with the separation of powers. He also denounced the “arbitrary” treatment of two Canadian citizens detained in China for more than 500 days, which constitutes a violation of the rule of law, and called for “not to draw parallels” between the two cases.
As for the decision to grant a 5G license to Huawei, the head of Canadian diplomacy reiterates that the government is actively working on it and that the first criterion must be security. He said he hoped for a “quick and well-considered” decision.
While all countries have gradually retreated into themselves with the coronavirus pandemic, he believes we need to “reinvent the multilateralism that is part of Canada’s DNA” to meet the aspirations of young people in particular.
Finally, François-Philippe Champagne explains that his country, which is running for a position as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council this month, offers many advantages for the revival of multilateralism, especially given the health and economic crisis in the poorest countries, in particular in Africa.
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