Canada could take steps to boost immigration from Hong Kong following the adoption of Chinese national security legislation in the former British colony.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the suspension of Canada extradition treaty with Hong Kong on Friday, at the same time suggesting increasing immigration could be among other measures taken by Ottawa.
China forced through the new law despite months of sometimes violent protests in the financial hub, where 300,000 Canadians live.
Trudeau also announced the end of the export of sensitive military items to Hong Kong.
“We are also suspending the Canada-Hong Kong extradition treaty. We are also looking at additional measures, including around immigration,” the Prime Minister said.
Canada Foreign Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne described the new legislation as ‘a significant step back in terms of freedom and liberty’, particularly taking issue with the ‘secretive’ way the law was imposed.
Canada-China relations are already significantly strained due to the detention of Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou at the request of the United States.
China responded by arresting two Canadians, former diplomat Michael Kovrig and businessman Michael Spavor, on spying charges.
Canada welcomed more than 1,500 new permanent residents from Hong Kong in 2019 and 2018, with figures increasing steadily over the last five years.
Some 445 Hong Kongers arrived in the first four months of 2020. The figures are likely to be skewed this year due to the impact of the coronavirus crisis and the closure of Canada’s borders