February 3, 2020

On January 8th, 2020, our country was devastated to learn that Ukraine International Flight 752 had been shot down with 176 victims, of whom 57 were Canadians. Our deepest condolences, thoughts and prayers go out to all who are suffering from this devastating tragedy. As Canada mourns the loss of the men, women, and children whose lives were abruptly cut short, we struggle to understand how such a terrible occurrence could happen. The Iranian government has taken responsibility for shooting down Flight 752, adding that it was unintentional. The current Liberal Government has stated its focus is on closure, transparency, accountability, and justice, including compensation for the victims’ families. Perhaps as Canadians, we must also consider the possibility that Canada’s position on the world stage has shifted and make changes to our foreign policy accordingly.

Canada’s relationships with other countries matter. As a middle power, where 80% of our GDP is derived from trade, Canada must have a comprehensive and informed foreign policy that balances our sovereignty, values, and economic security with our international alliances and relationships. As we witness significant shifts in global, economic and political power, and the escalation of tensions as demonstrated by recent events, it is essential that Canada reassess our international relationships both with countries who are our allies and those with whom we have challenges.

As a Member of Parliament and the Conservative Shadow Cabinet Minister for Foreign Affairs, it is my responsibility to both appreciate the current state of our international relationships and advocate for necessary changes to protect and preserve our national security and economic interests.

One of Canada’s most significant relationships is with the People’s Republic of China. China has become one of the fastest growing economies in the world and is Canada’s second largest trading partner. However, Canadians are deeply concerned with the deterioration of Canada-China relations as we witness the unlawful detention of two Canadians, the unjust banning of Canadian agricultural imports, and the recent media reports questioning the national security implications of China’s involvement in Canada’s 5G telecommunications network. It is critical that Canada ensures that our relationship with the People’s Republic of China allows us to take part in the opportunities for growth without compromising our sovereignty, security, and economic stability. To initiate this important work my Conservative colleagues tabled a motion that was approved by the House of Commons to establish a special committee on Canada-China relations. This committee is charged with examining and reviewing all aspects of Canada’s relations with China including but not limited to economic, legal, security, and diplomatic relations. It is our intention that the committee will focus on understanding the complexities of all aspects of our relationship with China by examining these and additional issues. I am pleased to serve on this committee.

Canada finds itself in a rapidly changing world order underpinned by unprecedented global instability and foundational shifts in international relations. As Canadians we must face these changes head on. The opportunities and threats we face today are different from those we faced in the 20th Century. In many ways they are far more complex. In response Canada must decide what role we want to play in this new global community. It is critical that we understand the current state of global affairs and be clear-eyed about our current place in the world. Canada must have a comprehensive foreign policy that addresses all aspects of the modern world and updates our approach to our relationships both with our allies and our adversaries. The health and welfare of our nation and our future depends upon it.

Originally published in The Auroran