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Canadian politicians voice support for closer ties with Taiwan

MPs call for deeper bilateral relations with Taiwan in 'The Hill Times'

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Conservative MP Peter Kent. (The Canadian Press, Justin Tang photo)

Conservative MP Peter Kent. (The Canadian Press, Justin Tang photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Multiple Canadian politicians and the Taiwanese envoy to Canada have voiced support for closer Taiwan-Canadian ties in an article published in Ottawa-based paper The Hill Times on Monday (Oct. 19).

The article quoted Taiwanese envoy Chen Wen-I (陳文儀) as saying that Taiwan and Canada have “similar thinking” and “extremely complementary economic and industrial structures.” Chen added that since Canada is innovative and boasts an advantage in financial resources and Taiwan is good at commoditizing knowledge, "We can easily cooperate with each other and show our strength to the outside world during these challenging times.”

He pointed out that Canada is worried about a second or even third wave of COVID-19 but that it still needs to discuss how to revitalize the economy, resume business activities, reorganize key industries, and cooperate with reliable democratic partners and countries.

Liberal Party legislator John McKay stated that the Chinese government has continued to belittle Canada, carry out a diplomatic approach of intimidation, and totally disrespect the rule of law and international conventions and norms. Thus, Canada should seek assistance from allies such as Taiwan at this time, he said.

Taiwan is Canada’s friend, McKay remarked. He added that despite certain constraints, bilateral relations have been “very mature” in recent years and there is still much room for development.

Conservative MP Peter Kent stated that under the current and the next government, Canada should focus on restoring relations with Taiwan. Even if Canada has at times yielded to the Chinese Communist Party over the years, Taiwan has always been an important democratic partner, he said.

Kent said that the opportunity to strengthen Taiwan-Canada ties has existed for a long time, but the pandemic has made this option more attractive and even necessary. The world's democracies must unite against China’s coercive diplomacy and military expansionism, Kent went on, adding that Canada needs to stand with a democratic nation like Taiwan.

Judy Sgro, chairwoman of the Canada-Taiwan Parliamentary Friendship Group, said that Taiwan has done very well in pandemic prevention and that Canada has a great opportunity to deepen its friendship with the nation. She said she hopes the pro-Taiwan parliamentary group can promote this goal.

Meanwhile, Professor Josephine Chiu-Duke of the University of British Columbia called on the Canadian government to seriously review its relationship with other similar democracies and explore opportunities for cooperation She pointed out that this does not mean Canada must be hostile to China but that no liberal democracy should succumb to unreasonable external pressure and abandon its own values.

Duke said she believes Taiwan can provide Canada with opportunities for collaboration on medical services, the semiconductor industry, and the food industry. She stressed that now is the time for the two governments to sit down and rethink their relationship.