MPs to consider implications of business trip to Taiwan: Trudeau


Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says his government will ensure MPs consider all possible consequences of a business trip to Taiwan.

The House of Commons International Trade Committee is seeking budget approval to visit the country this fall.

But there are fears it could escalate tensions with China, which condemned a visit to Taipei by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi earlier this month.

China considers the island of Taiwan its territory, and Beijing has imposed sanctions on Pelosi in retaliation for his visit and has held military exercises across the country.

Trudeau said Friday that MPs make their own decisions about what their committees study and what trips they take.

“There are important reflections underway at the moment,” he said during a press conference in Îles-de-la-Madeleine, Quebec.

“Canada has a long-standing position on China and Taiwan which we will make sure to respect. China’s belligerence on this and its position is, of course, as it has been for some time, troubling,” he said. he added.

“We will ensure that parliamentarians making the decision whether or not to travel are done with all thoughts about the consequences and impacts of it.”

The committee of MPs hopes to visit both Taiwan and Singapore during the trip, although the House of Commons has yet to approve the committee’s budget for the trip.

NDP MP and committee member Brian Masse said earlier this week that Canadians “need to support other democracies that have fought for their rights and freedoms.”

Randy Hoback, a Conservative MP and deputy chair of the committee, said MPs from a Canada-Taiwan parliamentary “friendship group” used to visit Taiwan about twice a year before COVID-19 hit. does not restrict movement.

Hoback has previously visited the island, located about 160 kilometers off the coast of southeast China, with the group.

But the Tory MP said he would like to consult with Global Affairs Canada before making the trip now. “There is no intention on my part to upset China,” he said on Wednesday.

During Pelosi’s visit, Foreign Minister Melanie Joly urged China to defuse tensions, saying lawmakers often make international visits and they should not be used to justify China’s decision to organize military exercises.

A spokeswoman for Joly said earlier this week that parliamentary associations and friendship groups travel regularly and that she respects their independence.

“Canada continues to enjoy strong and growing trade and people-to-people ties with Taiwan,” said Emily Williams.

“Canada is committed to upholding the rules that have ensured peace and stability for decades, including throughout the Indo-Pacific region.

The Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Canada said it would lend its “full support” to the parliamentary committee for a visit that would allow conversations to continue on issues such as trade and investment, education and technology.

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on August 19, 2022.