Delegation of Canadian MPs Travels to Taiwan, Resumes Long-Standing Parliamentary Exchanges

Delegation of Canadian MPs Travels to Taiwan, Resumes Long-Standing Parliamentary Exchanges
President Tsai Ing-wen waves to the crowd in Taipei, Taiwan, on May 20, 2016. (Ashley Pon/Getty Images)
Andrew Chen

A delegation of 10 Canadian MPs have kicked off a one-week visit to Taiwan. The trip is part of the long-standing parliamentary exchanges between Taiwan and Canada that resumed following the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions, according to a parliamentary statement.

Liberal MP John McKay said that many in the delegation are in the fields of national security or foreign affairs, reported Radio Free Asia, which noted that a focus of the visit will be to learn from Taiwan’s experience of dealing with China’s misinformation and interference tactics.

Apart from McKay, the delegation also includes Liberal MPs Ken Hardie and Randeep Sarai, Conservative MPs Michael Chong, James Bezan, Raquel Dancho, and Cheryl Gallant, NDP MPs Heather McPherson and Lindsay Mathyssen, and Bloc Québécois MP Stéphane Bergeron.

McKay and Bezan, who is the Tories’ national defence critic, are the chair and vice-chair of the House of Commons committee on national defence, respectively. Chong, McPherson, and Bergeron are foreign affairs critics for their respective parties. A number of the MPs are also members of the House special committee on the Canada–People’s Republic of China relationship.
According to a statement from the Canadian Trade Office in Taipei, the delegation will be meeting with Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen, Vice President William Lai, and business representatives. Local media reports said that the delegation will also meet with Taiwan’s national security agencies.
The delegation’s trip to Taiwan follows a similar visit to the island last October by MPs who are members of the parliamentary Canada–Taiwan Friendship Group, chaired by Liberal MP Judy Sgro. That visit came on the heels of a trip by former U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi which drew fierce opposition from Beijing, as the regime sees Taiwan as part of China’s territory. The Chinese military conducted live-fire exercises surrounding Taiwan ahead of Pelosi’s arrival and after she departed.
The current visit to Taiwan by Canadian parliamentary delegates also comes amid escalated threats from Beijing. The Chinese military launched a three-day military drill, sending 42 warplanes and eight naval vessels toward Taiwan on April 8 to simulate a “seal off“ of the island located southeast of the mainland, in protest against Tsai’s recent meeting with U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy while she was en route to Guatemala and Belize, which have official ties with Taiwan.
Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defence announced at around 10 a.m. local time on April 10 that China concluded its military exercise, but said they will continue to closely monitor the Chinese military’s movement.
McKay reportedly pointed to Canada’s Indo-Pacific Strategy, in which Ottawa pledged to work with Taiwan and other allies in the region to “push back against any unilateral actions that threaten the status quo in the Taiwan Strait, as well as the East and South China Seas.”

He noted that while Canada currently doesn’t have diplomatic ties with Taiwan, parliamentary exchanges are also an important channel for a bilateral relationship, according to Radio Free Asia.

The Canadian parliamentary delegation will be staying in Taiwan until April 15. Travel and accommodation for the delegation are being sponsored by the government of Taiwan, according to the parliamentary statement.