His comments represent a hardening tone toward China – more in line with the United States, Australia and parts of the EU – after exhaustive diplomatic efforts to soothe ties failed.
Trudeau visited China in September 2016 and weeks later Chinese Premier Li Keqiang travelled to Canada to renew their partnership in dozens of areas, includingjoint military exercises.
Since then, Beijing’s crackdown on its Uygur population and its erosion of Hong Kong’s autonomy have upset many liberal democracies, including Canada, which cancelled its extradition treaty with Hong Kong.
The tense relationship has been further exacerbated by Canada's condemnation of the newly enacted Chinese law on national security in Hong Kong and a suspension of some bilateral agreements with the special administrative region.
Beijing has said that it reserves the right to respond to any interference on Canada's part and the Canadian side will be held accountable for all the consequences.
Add to this, according to Champagne, Beijing's "arbitrary detention" of former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig and businessman Michael Spavor on suspicions of espionage, in response to the December 2018 arrest of telecom giant Huawei's chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou on a US warrant during a stopover in Vancouver.
Meng is wanted for alleged bank fraud and violations of US sanctions against Iran, and has been fighting extradition ever since.
"Our first priority is to get the Michaels back home," Champagne said.