TAIWAN, October 13 – President Tsai meets Canadian parliamentary delegation led by Senator Michael MacDonald
On the morning of October 13, President Tsai Ing-wen met with a Canadian parliamentary delegation led by Senator Michael MacDonald. In remarks, President Tsai stated that Taiwan is Canada’s fifth-largest trading partner in Asia and the world’s 21st-largest economy, playing a crucial role in global supply chains. The president noted that Canada’s Indo-Pacific Strategy emphasizes the importance of expanding our bilateral trade and economic relations, and that Taiwan and Canada are currently engaged in formal negotiations for a foreign investment promotion and protection agreement (FIPA), which will benefit both our countries. She also said she looks forward to more fruitful bilateral cooperation that demonstrates the power of friendship between democracies.
A translation of President Tsai’s remarks follows:
Welcome to the Presidential Office. This is the third Canadian parliamentary delegation to visit this year. It is also the first delegation to visit from the Senate since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Thank you for making the journey to participate in our National Day Celebration, demonstrating our friendship through your actions.
Our guests here today all have very important roles in the Senate of Canada. And a number of you are also members of the Canada-Taiwan Parliamentary Friendship Group. I would like to thank the delegation leader Senator MacDonald and all its members for speaking out in support of Taiwan in the Canadian Parliament.
I would also like to thank Senator MacDonald for introducing the draft Canada-Taiwan Relations Framework Act in the Senate last month. The act will advance bilateral cooperation in such areas as public health, technology, indigenous affairs, and digital governance. And I believe that your visit will help Taiwan and Canada to continue deepening our partnership in all areas.
Taiwan is Canada’s fifth-largest trading partner in Asia, and Canada’s Indo-Pacific Strategy emphasizes the importance of expanding our bilateral trade and economic relations. Taiwan and Canada are currently engaged in formal negotiations for the FIPA, which will benefit both our countries.
Taiwan is the world’s 21st-largest economy. It is an important partner in international trade and plays a crucial role in global supply chains. With Canada assuming the presidency of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) next year, we hope that Canada will back Taiwan’s accession to this trade bloc. Together, we can contribute more to regional prosperity and development.
Finally, during your visit, in addition to participating in our National Day Celebration, you have called on the public and private sectors to discuss human rights and democracy. I look forward to more fruitful bilateral cooperation that demonstrates the power of friendship between democracies.
Senator MacDonald then delivered remarks, saying that it is an honor and a pleasure to meet with President Tsai to express his delegation’s support for a prosperous Taiwan that will make its own decisions over its own future. Noting that he and President Tsai are of the same generation and that they both come from large families, Senator MacDonald said he believes that such upbringings build character and prepare you for life ahead.
The senator mentioned that he has always had a great interest in the evolution of Taiwan, and that although it had growing pains, over the years it has emerged as a first world country with great transportation, technology, and education and medical systems as well as a great adherence to the principles of freedom of speech, freedom of expression, and freedom of assembly. He stated that Taiwan is a country that should be emulated around the world, because Taiwan accomplished a very difficult thing by turning defeat into victory, and that all democracy-loving, free people salute Taiwan for its accomplishments.
Senator MacDonald said that it is also very gratifying to see the change in opinion in Canada when it comes to supporting Taiwan. While there has always been a latent support for Taiwan in Canada, he said there has also always been a lack of appreciation for how important it is to stand up for Taiwan’s freedom and for the right to exist. He added that there has been a significant change in Canada in this regard. The senator said that this has occurred not just because they believe in freedom, but also because they know that Taiwan is a great partner for Canada economically and socially, and that they want to develop that partnership and see it grow.
Noting that President Tsai is reaching the end of her second term, Senator MacDonald stated that by law she cannot run for president again, which is a great example of the evolution of democracy in Taiwan. For the past 30 years, he said, Taiwan has shown what a great democracy it is, with a multiparty system and peaceful transitions of government. With Taiwan holding elections early next year and the new president set to be sworn in next May, the senator expressed his belief that there will be a peaceful transition to a new government.
Senator MacDonald stated that the world is an increasingly dangerous place, that there are difficult challenges, and that no country knows this more than Taiwan. He added that Canada knows what Taiwan’s challenges are in terms of security.
He then congratulated President Tsai on a remarkable political career, saying that she has been a principled person who has shown great leadership in all of her official roles. The senator said that he looks forward to seeing what President Tsai will do in her post-presidential career.
The delegation also included Canadian Senator Leonidas Housakos, Pierre Dalphond, David Richards, and Marilou McPhedran.