Opposition leader Andrew Scheer says “as prime minister” he would pull Canada’s quarter-billion-dollar investment from China’s Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank over the communist state’s recent ban of canola and detainment of Canadian expats.
“Justin Trudeau sold this investment to Canadians as a way to improve trade between Canada and China. This has clearly failed,” Scheer said, adding that he would not allow China to leverage “hard earned” tax dollars “at a time when it is blocking our product and detaining our citizens.”
Prefacing Conservatives’ political tack for Parliament’s spring sitting which begins today, at a morning press conference in Ottawa Scheer accused Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of “weak leadership and poor judgement” over deteriorating relations with China.
Scheer called upon Trudeau to appoint an ambassador to China immediately, increase emergency assistance to affected farmers who exported $2.7 billion in canola there last year and file a WTO complaint for China’s “flimsy reasons for its blockade.”
“Appointing an ambassador should be a no-brainer,” said Scheer respecting former Liberal cabinet minister John McCallum’s removal from the job three months ago. “To have the post vacant at any time would be doing a serious disservice to Canadians.”
McCallum was sacked in January after giving a press conference to select Chinese-language media in Toronto where he suggested how China could secure Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou’s release from U.S. extradition proceedings she faces here.
In the days following Meng’s December 2018 arrest during transit through Vancouver International Airport, China detained Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor and have since accused the pair of espionage.
“There’s been no consequences to the government of China for detaining our citizens and blocking our exports,” said Scheer. “It’s time for Canada to act.”
China began blocking Canadian canola exports in March.