Toronto

Groups launch petition to push for Hong Kong to become Canadian federal election issue

A group of Hong Kongers are banding together in the hope of making the situation in that city a federal election issue here in Canada. 

‘Whatever is going on in Hong Kong will also have a serious impact on Canadians,’ organizer says

Months-long demonstrations in Hong Kong are set to continue this weekend, with protesters threatening to disrupt transport links to the airport as embattled leader Carrie Lam's withdrawal of a controversial extradition bill fails to appease some activists. (Vincent Yu/Associated Press)

A group of Hong Kongers are banding together in the hope of making the situation in that city a federal election issue here in Canada. 

Gloria Fung, president of non-profit organization Canada-Hong Kong Link, is among those behind a new e-petition campaign to raise awareness among Canadians about the unrest with many fearing a tightening grip by China over the semi-autonomous region.

"We have 300,000 Canadians in Hong Kong therefore whatever is going on in Hong Kong will also have a serious impact on Canadians living, working or even transiting there," Fund told CBC Toronto.

"We also want our current members of parliament as well as candidates who are running in the federal election to be aware of what they can do in order to address Canadians' concerns towards Hong Kong."

The petition comes just days after Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam announced measures to try to restore order in the city, including the formal withdrawal of a bill that triggered months-long demonstrations. The bill would have allowed extraditions to mainland China, despite the city having an independent judiciary dating back to British colonial rule.

But the demonstrations, which began in June, long since morphed into broader calls for more democracy, with many protesters pledging to fight on, calling Lam's concessions too little, too late.

Fung said with Canada's federal election due in October, this is a very good opportunity to launch the e-petition.

She said the organizers of the campaign have put together a range of recommendations that they would like all federal candidates to consider.

"We would like them to incorporate them in our foreign policy towards Hong Kong and China and also to take concrete steps in helping Hong Kong to restore peace in society."

Gloria Fung, president of Canada-Hong Kong Link, says the aim of an e-petition campaign launched on Friday, Sept. 6 is to raise the awareness of all Canadians about what is going on in Hong Kong. (CBC)

Meanwhile, Olivia Chow, a former member of parliament with the New Democratic Party and Toronto city councillor is urging all Canadians to sign the e-petition.

"I think the Canadian government can take a firmer approach. Whatever it's been doing is not working," she said. 

Chow argued an independent inquiry would help get to the bottom of what has transpired in Hong Kong over the last several months, including numerous violent clashes involving police and protestors. 

"Canadians that are interested in human rights, in democracy, both in Hong Kong and in China should sign this petition to say, 'Hey, candidates and political parties, what's your stand?'" she said.

"Every Canadian that feel an urge to support democracy should sign it."

With files from CBC's Desmond Brown, Shannon Martin and Thomson Reuters