Regaining full market access for our canola producers is Canada’s top international trade priority, right alongside the fight to get rid of illegal U.S. tariffs on steel and pipe products.
Long before the recent Chinese action to block shipments of canola from well-respected Canadian firms like Richardson and Viterra, we have had an ongoing dialogue with China to secure and maintain our market access.
That important and productive work was based on sound science and led by the best scientific and technical experts. We are absolutely confident of the high quality, cleanliness and technical superiority of Canadian canola.
The restrictive measures imposed by China are said to be rooted in science. We have asked for the evidence. To date, none has been supplied. We will keep pushing as hard as we can on this vital point.
The prime minister, Foreign Minister Freeland, Trade Minister Carr and Agriculture Minister Bibeau are fully involved in this file — along with the canola council, the relevant export companies, our diplomatic officials at the Canadian Embassy in China, our leading scientists and regulators, and provincial governments too. We must have a completely co-ordinated Team Canada effort. We will intervene at the right level of seniority and intensity (scientifically, strategically and diplomatically) to have the best possible impact.
In our representations, we can note that Canada has had a long and constructive relationship with China, including the humanitarian work of Norman Bethune in the 1930s, the grain trade with Mitchell Sharp and Alvin Hamilton in the 1950s, the excellent commercial activities of the Canadian Wheat Board in the 1960s and 1970s, and early Canadian diplomatic recognition of China in 1970 — at a time when few other countries would.
We can also note that measures that defy science and contravene sound business and trading practices detract from the good reputation for reliability which all trading nations seek to maintain.
A further important point is that Minister Carr is Canada’s minister of international trade DIVERSIFICATION — and he will be seeking every opportunity to find, market and deliver Canadian canola to other potential buyers worldwide.
You can be sure that we will spare no effort to achieve the best possible outcome for Canadian canola producers.
Ralph Goodale is Canada’s minister of public safety. He has been a member of Parliament for more than 25 years, and has at one time been federal minister of agriculture, finance and natural resources and was federal minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board.