Ottawa, ON – The Honourable Andrew Scheer, Leader of Canada’s Conservatives and the Official Opposition, today said Canada’s canola crisis is a consequence of Justin Trudeau’s weak leadership and called on him to take three immediate and concrete steps to restore the canola trade with China.
“Canadians are paying for Justin Trudeau’s weak leadership and poor judgment,” Scheer said. “Canola producers are only the latest victims of these failures. He has allowed China to walk all over him without defending Canada’s security and economic interests. Canadians deserve better.”
Scheer called on Trudeau to immediately do the following:
1. Appoint an ambassador to China
2. Increase emergency financial aid for producers
3. Launch formal trade complaint against China
See attached backgrounder for more details.
Scheer also announced as Prime Minister he would pull Canada’s $256-million funding commitment to the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.
He noted that the investment of Canadian tax dollars to support infrastructure projects in other countries was intended to improve trade relations between Canada and China.
“This is a failed experiment,” Scheer said. “China is clearly using the Infrastructure Bank to expand its influence. As Prime Minister I will not allow Canadian tax dollars to be used for that purpose in a country that is working against us.”
Scheer also highlighted other examples of Canadian producers losing market access in foreign markets because of his failures on the world stage, including restrictions on Canadian durum wheat in Italy, pulses in India, and wheat in Vietnam.
At the House of Commons Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food, Canadians heard from an Alberta canola farmer that he could lose up to $150,000 this year if the canola trade with China is not restored.
“His failed relationship with China and his slow response to this crisis are costing Canadian farmers dearly,” Scheer said.
The Honourable Andrew Scheer, Leader of Canada’s Conservatives and the Official Opposition, today called on Justin Trudeau to take three immediate and concrete steps to restore Canada’s canola trade with China.
1. Appoint an Ambassador to China
It has now been over three months since John McCallum was fired as Canada’s Ambassador to China. Canada is now severely underrepresented in one of the world’s most important capital cities. Making a blatantly political appointment to China in the first place was a major error on Justin Trudeau’s part. The least he can do is address his mistakes so that Canada’s interests are represented in Beijing.
2. Increase the cap and interest-free period of the federal Advanced Payment Program (APP)
The APP currently allows farmers to borrow up to a maximum of $400,000, with the first $100,000 being interest-free. Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe has requested that the maximum be increased to $1,000,000 and that the full loan be temporarily made interest-free. This would support our farmers while the trade issue remains unresolved.
3. Launch a complaint at the World Trade Organization (WTO)
Given the world class quality of Canada’s canola, it is obvious that China’s actions to punish Canadian farmers are completely arbitrary and have nothing to do with science. For this reason, and given the fact that China is not even willing to receive a delegation of scientists and agricultural experts from Canada, we should immediately launch a WTO complaint against China.