Halifax Security Forum bucks Canadian government and Chinese pressure, awards Taiwan’s president
By BETSY WOODRUFF SWAN and ANDY BLATCHFORD
03 May 2021
Despite pressure from the Canadian government, a major international security forum is giving its top honor to the president of Taiwan. The Halifax International Security Forum (HFX) announced on Monday that it will give this year’s John McCain Prize for Leadership in Public Service to President Tsai Ing-wen, citing her resistance to aggression from Beijing.
Last month, POLITICO broke the news that officials in the Canadian government — which provides funding to the group — urged its leaders to refrain from giving the award to Tsai. The news came as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his government have drawn pointed criticism for what conservatives describe as acquiescence to Beijing. Canada’s defense minister has denied the government leveled any pressure at HFX, but the Chinese government criticized Ottawa for supporting the group that was poised to give Tsai the award.
Now, Halifax has publicly announced that Tsai will receive the prize.
“President Tsai is an inspiration and an example to freedom loving people everywhere,” said the forum’s president Peter Van Praagh. “Her courage and her fortitude in defending her people against the Chinese Communist Party’s aggression are precisely the qualities that the John McCain Prize was designed to recognize.”