Members of Parliament voted Monday to label China’s treatment of the Uighur Muslims a genocide, and to call on the federal government to formally adopt that position, without the support of the Liberal cabinet.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau did not participate in the vote. Foreign Affairs Minister Marc Garneau abstained on the record while the rest of his cabinet colleagues were absent.
“I abstain on behalf of the Government of Canada,” said Garneau when he made his position known.
All opposition MPs who participated in the vote as well as most Liberal MPs, including Garneau’s parliamentary secretary Rob Oliphant, voted in favour of the motion. It was considered a free vote for Liberal MPs.
The federal Conservatives introduced the motion last Thursday. It states, in part, that in the opinion of the House of Commons, “the People’s Republic of China has engaged in actions consistent with the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 260, commonly known as the ‘Genocide Convention’.. [and] the House, therefore, recognize that a genocide is currently being carried out by the People’s Republic of China against Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims… and call on the government to officially adopt this position.”