The G20 Summit

July 08, 2019

The G20 Summit recently took place in Osaka, Japan. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau attended the summit representing Canada as a member state. It was a critically important opportunity for him to correct the very serious and, in some cases, dire consequences of his poor and weak leadership on the world stage, especially with respect to China (also a member state of the G20). This includes the Chinese government’s detention of two Canadian citizens for more than six months, as well as Canada’s loss of essential market access for meat, canola seed, and soy exports costing Canadian farmers more than $1 billion to date. Unfortunately, the Prime Minister didn’t seize the moment and has failed Canadians yet again.

In late June, China announced it was halting all meat imports from Canada after the Canadian Food Inspection Agency notified China that it had discovered a number of inauthentic veterinary health certificates in some meat products bound for China. In the last year, Canada exported almost $374 million worth of pork, beef, and veal meat to China. We know that Canadian farmers produce some of the highest quality meat in the world. Any assertion by the Chinese government to the contrary is both false and baseless. Canada had already lost Chinese market access for canola, soy, and now meat has been added to that list. Canadians know this is a political issue caused by Prime Minister Trudeau’s incompetence and weakness on the world stage and not Canada’s high quality products.

Each time China has taken actions against Canada, Prime Minister Trudeau has failed to stand up for Canada. Like President Trump, China has learned it can walk all over Canada without consequence with this Prime Minister in charge. Canadians expect their Prime Minister to stand up for Canadian interests whenever they come under attack. Sadly, Prime Minister Trudeau failed again during the G20 Summit and Canadians are paying for it. Our canola farmers are paying for it. Our beef producers are paying for it. Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig are paying for it.

Prime Minister Trudeau must make it clear to China that there are consequences for actions. We, the Conservative Official Opposition, have repeatedly asked him to take this trade dispute to the WTO and to pull Canada’s absurd $250 million investment in the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. We urge him to take strong retaliatory action against China – to send the message that Canada will not be pushed around. Firstly, he should increase inspections on all Chinese imports. Secondly, he should review all investments coming from China. Thirdly, he should consider potential retaliatory tariffs on Chinese imports.

As long as the Chinese government is willing to hold Canadian exports and our citizens hostage, while committing human rights violations, Canada has no other choice but to fight back. If the current Liberal government isn’t willing to stand up to China now, it never will. The G20 Summit was the perfect opportunity for the Prime Minister to finally take action, but he didn’t. In less than four months, Canadians will head to the polls and they’ll have a clear choice. The choice will be between weakness and dithering or strength and action.