VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Pressure is mounting for organizers of this year’s Union of BC Municipalities Convention to cancel a reception sponsored by the Chinese government, and Vancouver’s mayor is the latest civic leader to say he won’t be attending.
Mayor Kennedy Stewart says he usually avoids sponsored receptions because he doesn’t find they “accomplish anything constructive.”
His confirmation comes as Port Coquitlam Mayor Brad West continues to campaign for the cancellation of the event.
“They should have never made the decision in the first place, so the fact that they did doesn’t fill me with confidence that the right decision will be made now,” West says. “But what I do think is that there is a lot of public attention on their decision and I think that that, hopefully, will influence the outcome.”
The Consulate-General of the People’s Republic of China in Vancouver paid $6,000 in order to host the reception.
In a letter to the UBCM executive in June, West argued some recent actions taken by the Chinese government are hostile to Canada’s interests, and China’s continued involvement in the conference reflects poorly on the union and its members.
UBCM executives are holding a meeting later this month to discuss next steps on the event, which is scheduled to take place in the fall.
They’ve confirmed feedback has been strong since the December arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou and China’s subsequent detention of two Canadians, Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor.