Wynne to Continue China Trade Mission despite Hong Kong Protests

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne has confirmed that she will be leaving on the scheduled one-week trade mission to China on October 25, regardless of the growing pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong. Addressing the questions from reporters on Wednesday, Wynne alleged that “we support the ability of people to express freely their opinions.”

The premier alleged to raise the issue in a meeting with the Chinese consul-general in Toronto on Monday but wouldn’t commit to pressing officials for a speedier pace on voting reforms. Justifying the timing of her trip to meet representatives from about 60 companies, Wynne elucidated that “I am going to work in the context of the federal government’s relations with China.” She alleged that foreign relations is the responsibility of Ottawa. Quite noticeably, China is the second-largest trading partner of Ontario, only behind the United States. Furthermore, Wynne pointed out that Ontario’s huge Chinese population gives the province a “natural connection” with the Communist country and its massive economy.

Wynne alleged that that “often, small businesses don’t have the access and don’t have the ability to tap into larger markets” and so her first international trade mission as premier would work on that. She confirmed that there are no stops in Hong Kong. Former premier of Ontario, Dalton McGuinty, took four trade missions to China and New Democrat MPP, Catherine Fife, assured that her party supports the trade mission because it’s important to keep an “open dialogue” but told hundreds at the flag-raising ceremony that “the eyes of the world are on China today.”

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