Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to speak tonight about Canada's important relationship with Taiwan. Canada does significant trade with Taiwan, and it is a strategic partner that shares our values. Taiwan is a Chinese democracy beacon for the mainland, a sign of what is possible.
When it comes to our foreign policy, the Conservatives are deeply committed to strengthening our relationship with like-minded partners in the Asia-Pacific region. We want Canada to deepen its partnership, in particular with countries like Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, and others in the region that share our commitment to freedom, democracy, human rights, and the rule of law. It is always easier to trade and partner in a variety of ways with those who share our values, with those whom we can trust to honour their commitments, and to treat our citizens with respect when they are there.
We have an opportunity to build partnerships with like-minded nations in this region to expand the sphere of freedom, democracy, human rights, and the rule of law as well. We have a shared interest with these nations in preserving the international rules-based order.
As we think about that order, someone pointed out to me recently that China was using the Crimea model in the South China Sea. The Crimea model is the illegal territorial acquisition by the Russians, of Crimea. It is a process of inching forward, carefully trying to avoid provoking too much resistance from the west, proceeding step by step, with each step covered in lies and misinformation, with steps that do not, in each case, provoke a sufficient response but taken together lead to acquisitions that are clearly illegal.
At least in the case of Crimea, the western world responded with sanctions. Under a Conservative leadership, Canada played a leading role in that. However, the Liberal government has been virtually silent on the deployment of the Crimea model in this other case, with the creation and militarization of islands outside of China's territorial waters in the South China Sea. Our partnership with like-minded nations is so important to resisting this.
On the issue of Taiwan in general, we see the government, generally, totally silent. I have asked repeated questions about issues related to Taiwan in question period, and very often the government has simply shifted away to talk about how it wants to have a better relationship with the mainland, even if the question is specifically on the issue of Taiwan.
The Liberals have made perfunctory comments about the issue of Taiwan's involvement in the World Health Assembly, which is a critical issue. Taiwan has a significant contribution to make to this body. However, it is curious that repeatedly when questions about Taiwan come up, the government does not want to address that important relationship with Taiwan. It does not want to acknowledge the importance of that relationship for us strategically, economically, and on so many other fronts. Indeed, it is our 12th largest trading partner, as my colleague has pointed out. More than that, we share common values. We share a common strategic direction in the region.
Canada needs to be willing to call out violations of international law by China, and work with like-minded partners to resist that, rather than continually giving credence to the narrative by the mainland that is potentially used as a justification for subsequent illegal action against Taiwan. We want to prevent that from happening. We want to stand with Taiwan. We want to resist this progressive aggression we see from the mainland.
Will the parliamentary secretary finally speak definitively about the benefits of the Canada-Taiwan relationship and the need for strategic co-operation, as well as the need to stand up to bullying from the mainland with respect to this.
Another issue the government has not addressed is the issue with Air Canada, changing the designation of Taiwan, claiming that it is part of China. When Air Canada makes these statements, it is very damaging, yet the government has had nothing to say about this bullying of a Canadian company by the People's Republic of China.
Will the parliamentary secretary also choose this as an opportunity to address that issue with Air Canada, as well as the other issues that have been raised with respect to Taiwan?