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  • Canola crisis solutions

    I think most of you would agree that the Prime Minister’s approach to our resource sector has wreaked havoc in our region. His plan to “phase out” the Canadian energy sector has left thousands unemployed.

    Unfortunately, this government’s mismanagement of our international relationships is making matters even worse.

    Two major canola exporting companies – Richardson International Ltd. and Viterra Inc. – have had their export permits revoked for baseless reasons. Since then, the Canola Council of Canada has said that its members have reported Chinese importers are unwilling to purchase their products.

    Approximately 40% of canola exports go to markets in China. And it appears that not only canola is being affected. Other agricultural products that rely on export to China are being quietly sidelined by Chinese buyers. China is a massive market, and diversifying into new markets can only do so much to replace it.

    This crisis only worsens Canada’s trade situation – India has implemented massive tariffs on lentils, Durum Wheat exports have been severely impacted by new Italian trade policies – and the list goes on.

    This is a serious situation, and we need the Prime Minister to act immediately to resolve this matter.

    An obvious first step would be to stop funding the construction of pipelines in China through the Asian Infrastructure Bank. This plan never made any sense in the first place – why would the Liberals send money overseas to fund the construction of pipelines, while making them impossible to build here? They need to cancel this funding immediately.

    The Liberals also need to immediately appoint an ambassador to China. It has now been over three months since John McCallum was fired as Canada’s Ambassador to China. This has left Canada 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 the Prime Minister’s part. The least he can do is address his mistakes so that Canada’s interests are represented in Beijing.

    Finally, the Prime Minister must launch a complaint with the World Trade Organization. It is incredible that he has not yet done so. 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.

    Conservatives will continue to call for real action for Canadian canola farmers through all means at our disposal.

    I can be reached in Ottawa at martin.shields@parl.gc.ca. My Brooks office can be reached at 403-793-6775 or martin.shields.c1@parl.gc.ca, and my Strathmore office at 403-361-2980 or martin.shields.c1B@parl.gc.ca. Please don’t hesitate to contact me about any federal issue.