Mr. Speaker, coming from Burnaby—New Westminster, the capital of the Taiwanese community in Canada, I am pleased to present a petition signed by more than 500 residents of Burnaby, New Westminster, Vancouver, Richmond and other areas of the Lower Mainland of British Columbia.
The petitioners call for visa-free travel between Canada and Taiwan. Over 150,000 visitors from Taiwan come to Canada every year and about 15,000 Taiwanese students attend Canadian schools. There is an undeniable economic advantage of strengthening the ties between Canada and Taiwan.
The United Kingdom, Ireland and New Zealand have all recently waived visa requirements for Taiwanese visitors. In each of those cases, the number of Taiwanese visitors and tourists has increased significantly. It is also important to note that Taiwan has waived visa requirements for Canadians visiting Taiwan.
These 500 individuals throughout the Lower Mainland are calling upon the House of Commons to pass my private member's Motion No. 530 which requests that the government implement the visa waiver program for Taiwanese citizens coming to Canada in response to Taiwan's decision to waive visa requirements for Canadian visitors to Taiwan.