The House of Commons Special Committee on the Canada–People’s Republic of China Relationship released an interim report last week advocating for expanding Canada’s engagement with Taiwan, albeit within the parameters of Canada’s ‘One China’ policy. According to this policy, Canada recognizes the People’s Republic of China (PRC) “as the sole legitimate government of China, but neither endorses nor challenges the PRC’s position” that Taiwan is part of the PRC and should be reunited with it.
What the report says
The committee’s recommendations to the Canadian government cover a range of policy domains: ramping up trade ties, learning from Taiwan in combating disinformation and foreign interference, and empowering Indigenous Peoples in both Canada and Taiwan.
Other recommendations are more overtly political, and likely to rankle Beijing. These include encouraging more parliamentary visits to Taiwan, working with allies to support Taiwan’s participation in international organizations, and joining U.S.-led security pacts to counter the PRC’s threats to the region.
How the PRC responded
The Chinese embassy in Ottawa said it “strongly deplores” the committee’s report, viewing it as a “flagrant provocation” and “gross interference” in China’s internal affairs. Beijing’s alarm at what it sees as intensified provocation on the “Taiwan issue” is reaching perilous new heights. This week, Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen met with Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, Kevin McCarthy, in California on her way back from visiting Central America. Beijing vowed to take “resolute and forceful measures” in response.
This increasingly tense atmosphere could factor into Ottawa’s calculations on whether to pursue the committee’s recommendations. It may face that dilemma sooner rather than later, as 10 members of Parliament will visit Taiwan later in April.