OTTAWA — The federal Liberal government is facing increasingly frustrated and worried calls to help people leave Hong Kong for Canada as China continues to crack down on pro-democracy activists in the former British colony.
The growing exasperation follows Ottawa’s suspension of an extradition treaty with Hong Kong in early July after China passed a security law that put Hong Kong under tighter control from Beijing.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the measure and asserted at the time that the federal government was looking at a variety of other responses as well, including on immigration.
The hope for activists, human-rights groups and others at the time was that the government would make it easier for people in Hong Kong to move to Canada, particularly those who already have family here or who have job skills.
But the government has yet to make any decision two months later despite Chinese authorities’ having conducted several waves of arrests as part of a crackdown on pro-democracy activists and media.
The government says it is still examining its options, but some in Canada say the time to act is now before Chinese authorities make it impossible for people to leave.