The main opposition party in Canada on Thursday called for the House of Commons to declare that China is committing a genocide against the Uighur people in the Xinjiang region.
The Associated Press reports that Conservative Party leader Erin O’Toole made the call, saying a signal must be sent.
“On a matter like genocide, Canada needs to send a clear and unequivocal signal that we will stand up for human rights and the dignity of human rights, even if it means sacrificing some economic opportunity,” O’Toole said, according to the AP. “Our values are not for sale.”
A vote on the motion is expected to take place Monday. The news outlet notes that the motion does not lay out what steps the Canadian government would take in declaring a genocide in China, however the main opposition parties, who control the majority of the House, are in support of it.
In a statement released on Twitter, O'Toole said, "We cannot remain silent. Silence only helps those who commit crimes against humanity, never the victims."
"Canada may be a small country in terms of population, but we are a towering giant when it comes to our commitment to human rights. And right now, over a million people half a world away need us to use that voice," O'Toole added.
We cannot remain silent. Silence only helps those who commit crimes against humanity, never the victims. Today we're calling on the Trudeau government to recognize the Uyghur genocide. My statement: pic.twitter.com/0z2jbHXu58— Erin O'Toole (@erinotoole) February 18, 2021
The AP notes Canadian Prime Minister Justin TrudeauJustin Pierre James Trudeau Obama backs Trudeau in Canadian election Photos of the Week: Gen. Lee statue, California drought, 9/11 Protesters throw gravel at Canada's Trudeau during campaign stop MORE was hesitant to call the treatment of Uighurs in China a genocide earlier this week, saying it was an “extremely loaded” term.
“When it comes to the application of the very specific word genocide, we simply need to ensure that all the i’s are dotted and t’s are crossed before a determination like that is made,” Trudeau said.
Before leaving office in January, former U.S. Secretary of State Mike PompeoMike PompeoChristie, Pompeo named co-chairs of GOP redistricting group America needs a new strategy for Pacific Island Countries Harris to hold fundraiser for McAuliffe ahead of Virginia governor's race MORE declared China’s treatment of Uighurs a genocide.
“Their morally repugnant, wholesale policies, practices, and abuses are designed systematically to discriminate against and surveil ethnic Uyghurs as a unique demographic and ethnic group, restrict their freedom to travel, emigrate, and attend schools, and deny other basic human rights of assembly, speech, and worship,” Pompeo said in a statement at the time.
The Hill has reached out to Trudeau's office for comment.