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More than a few Canadians are no doubt happy enough that the House of Commons in Ottawa, “pursuant to Standing Order 28(2)(b),” is off on its annual summer holiday, from late June to mid September.

Whatever else, this will at least turn off one big toxic tap on the “Chinese/foreign influence”  issue in Canadian politics and beyond.

And it does seem that the great majority of the cross-country electorate, in all its various regional configurations, is less interested in this issue than many federal parliamentarians (and others) in Ottawa.

There have also been intimations that the diverse Canadian electorate is home to some especially subtle and nuanced understandings of  Chinese/foreign influence in Canada today. Whatever else again, this certainly shouldn’t be surprising.

To start with, what still calls itself the People’s Republic of China is now and is going to be something very big in the 21st century global village. The shock-and-awesome growth of the Chinese economy since the year 2000 is almost unbelievable but finally quite real.

As Mao Zedong famously said, China “stood up” in 1949, after an agonizingly long period of decadent decline. Around 1999, 50 years later, China started to reach for some economic and other recovery of its earlier high achievement in world history.

Moreover, China today has more than 1.4 billion people. Though India is about to move into first place on this front, China’s population will at least remain the second largest of any country in the world, by a considerable margin.

(The third largest is the United States at some 330 million people, and the fourth is Indonesia with about 275 million.)

At the same time (and more immediately for Canadians), the Government of Canada tells us that : “1.8 million Canadian residents are of Chinese origin, and in 2020, more than 117,000 Chinese students with study permits for six months or more attended Canadian educational institutions. Chinese is Canada’s third most spoken language after English and French.” (Punjabi is fourth.)

What the Government of China is doing outside and inside Canada today clearly bears watching. It operates an essentially authoritarian political system, opposed to the free and democratic politics countries such as Canada are supposed to enjoy.

And then a new and vaguely imperialist China is increasingly involved in many different parts of the world, economically and even more broadly politically or at least culturally.

And then again, closest to the ground, in international trade China is currently selling to Canada some three and a half times more than it is buying from us.

At the same time again, China has made and will no doubt continue to make a vast contribution to some emerging global civilization.

There are similarly growing Chinese dimensions to Canadian culture. We have already had a Governor General of Canada who was born in Hong Kong. And the list of theoretically lesser public offices occupied by “Canadian residents … of Chinese origin” is already long and growing.

With the House in Ottawa away for the summer, it may take somewhat longer for federal politicians to altogether resolve what is finally going to be done about the Chinese/foreign influence issue in the Canadian democracy.

Whatever it is, however, should somehow appreciate that the political, economic, and diverse human relationships involved are entirely too serious and important to be used as fodder for toxic partisan political debate.

It may be almost pointless to try to say such things in the cruel real world of politics almost everywhere today!

And if no one in current Canadian political life exactly matches such figures as Lauren Boebert, Marjorie Taylor Greene, and Donald Trump in the USA, we have more than our own fair share of toxic partisan politicians.

Even so,  as the summer of 2023 begins  it still seems somehow appropriate to argue that, in dealing with “Chinese/foreign influence,” what we need now in Canada is something completely different — and at least a little more high-minded.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by columnists and contributors are the author’s alone. They do not inherently or expressly reflect the views, opinions and/or positions of our publication.