Canadian MPs Visiting Taiwan Voice Support for Nation to Join International Organizations Amid Beijing's Threats

Canadian MPs Visiting Taiwan Voice Support for Nation to Join International Organizations Amid Beijing's Threats
Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen speaks at a ceremony to mark the island's National Day in front of the Presidential Office in Taipei on October 10, 2022. (Photo by Sam Yeh / AFP) (Photo by SAM YEH/AFP via Getty Images)
Andrew Chen

A group of Canadian parliamentarians visiting Taiwan are voicing support for Taiwan's participation in international organizations where Beijing has long opposed the island's membership.

Liberal MP Judy Sgro and several MPs from the Canada-Taiwan Parliamentary Friendship Group arrived in Taiwan ahead of the self-ruled democracy's 111th National Day on Oct. 10. Other members of parliament on the trip include Liberal MP Angelo Iacono, Bloc Québécois MP Simon-Pierre Savard-Tremblay, and Conservative MPs Richard Martel and Chris Lewis.

"Myself and the rest of the Parliamentary Friendship group with Taiwan had the honour of meeting with President Tsai Ing-Wen to recognize Taiwans relations with Canada and their importance to the international community," Sgro wrote on social media on Oct. 11, following the group's meeting with the Taiwanese president a day earlier.

During the meeting, Tsai noted that earlier this year Canada and Taiwan had begun exploratory discussions of a possible foreign investment promotion and protection arrangement (FIPA), which she said would build a "more open, transparent, and friendly investment environment, as well as strengthen bilateral economic and trade links."

Tsai also said that last year Taiwan officially applied to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), and called for Canada's support in its accession into the organization.

"Taiwan, in my opinion, has demonstrated a very solid record on complying with the CPTPP and we hope as a parliamentary group, and I believe most of the parliamentarians in Canada, hope that that accession into the CPTPP will happen sooner than later," Sgro said in response, adding that "things have continued to progress very well" in regards to the FIPA discussions.

Sgro also voiced support for Taiwan's participation in the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) during the Friendship Group's meeting with You Si-Kun, Speaker of the Taiwanese legislature, on Oct. 12.

"Our Prime Minister and our government are very aware of your desires for the ICAO and the [WHO] and have passed many motions and spoken of that very issue in Parliament," she told the delegation.

"I believe if ever Taiwan was going to have the opportunity to be advanced into those two organizations, the time is now."

'Symbol of Freedom and Democracy'

Sgro announced the plan to visit Taiwan with members of the Parliamentary Friendship Group in August after U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi made a stop in Taiwan during her Asia tour earlier that month.

Pelosi's visit sparked outrage from the communist regime in Beijing, which regards Taiwan as part of its territory, and has taken steps to isolate it from the international community while making increasingly aggressive threats toward the island nation.

Prior to Pelosi’s visit, China slapped a temporary ban on food imports from over 100 Taiwanese companies and conducted several military exercises near Taiwan before and after Pelosi’s trip, causing the cancellation of dozens of international flights.
In a white paper released on Aug. 10, the Chinese Communist Party withdrew a promise that it would “not send troops or administrative personnel to be based in Taiwan,” if ever it took control of the island. The paper also reiterated the regime's stance that it "will not renounce the use of force” to invade Taiwan.

"Part of the reason for our visit at this particular time was because when your friends are having difficulties, you always want to be by their side—whether it's your own personal family or your parliamentary family," Sgro said in the Taiwanese legislature on Oct. 12.

"Taiwan is so, so important to the world; you are such a symbol of freedom and democracy. We want to see that continue, we want to see freedom and democracy spread in other countries around the world and respect for human rights," she added.

"Together, with Taiwan and Canada, we will continue to do that work as we move forward."