As news was breaking (on Saturday, January 26th) about the resignation of John McCallum — Canada's ambassador to China — we were breaking news of our own. In a turn of events, we would be hosting veteran journalist Jonathan Manthorpe — an international affairs columnist for over 40 years — the same evening to discuss the crisis in Canada-China relations.
Also on Saturday, the Globe & Mail published Forum Chair Michael Byers' book review of Jonathan Manthorpe's new book Claws of the Panda: Beijing's Campaign of Influence and Intimidation in Canada.
With the arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver last month, and then the detentions of two Canadians along with the severe resentencing of a Canadian man in China, this timely event helped audience members further understand what is happening between Canada and China as well as understand the history of the countries’ relationship. Manthorpe, for example, highlighted that for decades China has worked to gain influence over Canadian decision-making.
The Salt Spring Forum responds to the current issues facing humanity by presenting relevant and informed guests such as Jonathan Manthorpe. We may be a small organization on a small island in the Pacific Ocean, but we are committed to responding quickly to the big issues of our times.