Tory MP criticizes Liberals after China denies her visa
OTTAWA — Conservative MP Candice Bergen said the Liberals should have protested when China denied her a visa to travel there with other parliamentarians this summer, instead of leaving her behind.
The Opposition House leader was supposed to be among the MPs and senators from the Canada-China Legislative Association who travelled overseas Aug. 14 to 27. She was hoping to talk to Chinese politicians and government officials about Canadian canola exports and human rights.
She said she was alarmed by some of the personal details China asked of those going on the trip, especially since they were travelling on special passports, so she decided to leave some information about her family out of the application.
China denied her visa a few days before the group was due to leave.
“That was disappointing and shocking,” said Bergen, who pointed out she was a minister of state in the former Conservative government and had been to China before, in March 2016.
What surprised her even more, she said, was that when she sent an email to others in the group asking whether they were going to do anything about it, such as cancelling the visit, she never heard back.
Sen. Joseph Day, who co-chairs the Canada-China Legislative Association, said the group did push back on the invasive nature of the application form, but were told by Canadian and Chinese officials, as well as the politicians they later met on the trip, they did not have a choice if they wanted to go.
“The Chinese were not flexible on that,” said Day. “It’s reflective of what other countries are asking for, including Canada.”
A spokesperson for Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland confirmed no one should expect special treatment.
Candice Bergen says the Liberals should have done more to protest when China denied her a visa to travel there with parliamentarians.