An Embarrassing Week for Canada on the World Stage

March 1, 2018

This week was truly an embarrassing one for Canada on the world stage.  Instead of working with his Indian counterparts to secure vital market access for our farmers, Justin Trudeau prioritized photo-ops and once again failed to take international trade seriously.

During what his office called a “trade mission” to India, the Prime Minister paraded around the country in Indian dress, posing for photos in front of India’s most treasured historical and religious sites. It got so bad that Indian and other international media have commented on how ridiculous the Prime Minister looked.

If this wasn’t enough of an insult to his host country, the Prime Minister’s office also invited convicted attempted murderer Jaspal Atwal to an official dinner hosted by the Canadian High Commissioner to India.  In the late 1980s, Atwal was convicted of attempting to kill an Indian Minister of State who had travelled to British Columbia for a family wedding.  Atwal had also been a member of a terrorist organization that is banned in Canada. 

Trudeau also profoundly insulted Canadians with his actions in India, in particular those Canadian farmers looking to India as an export destination. What this “trade mission” really ended up being was a six-day Trudeau vacation with only one day of official business.  Perhaps more work could have gotten done if Trudeau had actually brought his Trade and Agriculture Ministers with him? 

India is the largest importer of pulses in the world and Canada is their number one importer.  With one of the fastest growing populations in the world, India should be wanting to buy as much food as Canada can export, but just last November, the Indian government imposed a 50% tariff on pea imports into their country.  This tariff jeopardizes the $1 billion worth of Canadian pulse sales to India every year, and will have ramifications across the prairies as farmers decide what crops to plant.  Current projections show that pulse crops like lentils and peas could be reduced by about one-third as a result of the Indian duty.

This is why Canada needs a trade agreement with India.  It is something that our previous Conservative government put a lot of work into, holding ten rounds of trade negotiations. Yet not one round has occurred since the Liberals took office. 

The Prime Minister should have taken the importance of Canada`s trading relationship with India seriously. Instead, all Canadians got from him were ridiculous photos while playing dress up.  Once again, Canadian taxpayers will have footed an exorbitant travel bill for Justin Trudeau, and he has failed to deliver results.  Canadians deserve better than a Prime Minister who continuously fails them on the international stage.

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