OTTAWA — Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer will call on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau today to respond to China’s ban on Canadian canola shipments by taking a number of steps, including pulling hundreds of millions of dollars Ottawa has committed to Beijing’s multilateral development bank.
The Canadian Press has learned Scheer will also use a news conference to demand that Trudeau immediately appoint a new ambassador to China, launch a complaint about the canola dispute with the World Trade Organization and increase financial support for farmers.
Citing unproven concerns about pests, China has rejected Canadian canola seed shipments in recent months and has suspended the licences of two major Canadian exporters.
The Conservative leader will argue that Trudeau has done little to address the canola feud since it erupted in recent months.
Among the steps, Scheer will call on Trudeau to cut Canada’s funding to China’s Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, to which the government has committed $256 million over five years.
The Liberal government has established a working group to address the canola issue, requested to send a delegation of experts to China to examine the complaints and says it has been exploring options to provide financial support to farmers.
China’s decision to cut off Canadian canola seed shipments is widely viewed as an attempt to apply economic pressure on Canada following the December arrest of senior Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver at the behest of the United States.
In the days following Meng’s arrest, China arrested two Canadian citizens on allegations of engaging in activities that have endangered Chinese national security.
Weeks later, Trudeau fired Canada’s former ambassador to China, John McCallum, for going off script in the government’s efforts to win the release of the two men.