It’s time to Stand Up To China

“Tank Man” on Tiananmen Square, China, June 1989

We are asking for your help today on our next campaign – which we are calling #StandUpToChina.

Here’s why:

On June 4, 1989, Chinese government tanks rolled into Tiananmen Square in Beijing and crushed a student demonstration.

Nearly 30 years later the Chinese government has “rolled over” another group of innocents – Canada’s canola farmers.

In March, China blocked imports of Canadian canola as part of a larger political tug-of-war with the U.S. Canola is a very big deal in Canada. A high-value cash crop, it contributes more than $26 billion to our economy every year. It supports Canadian 43,000 farmers directly and is tied to more than 250,000 jobs.

China has been our #1 market for canola, worth $2 billion annually. We sell enough canola to China every year to fill a train that stretches from Vancouver to Calgary.

Farmers use this revenue to pay the bills, supporting other crops that pay less but provide the food Canadians depend on. More than half of our canola is grown in Saskatchewan, with Alberta and Manitoba also being large contributors. Smaller amounts are grown in B.C., Ontario and Quebec.

China’s canola ban is part of a larger political and trade war that started in December with the arrest in Vancouver of Meng Wanzhou, the CFO of Chinese tech giant Huawei, in response to an extradition request from the U.S. government. China has retaliated by arresting several Canadian citizens in that country, and launching trade action. The canola ban was the first trade action, soon followed by restrictions and bottlenecks involving Canadian peas, soybeans and pork destined for China.

Our Prairie farmers are caught as pawns in a global conflict between China and the U.S. that has nothing to do with them. They are hurting as a result – real Canadian families suffering real harm.

In response, our federal government appears to be banking on quiet diplomacy in hopes of appeasing the Chinese and getting a resolution to the issue. Good luck to that. That could take years, during which our farmers will suffer billions in losses. So, who’s left to speak up on behalf of Canada’s canola farmers? Who’s left to #StandUpToChina? We are, at Suits and Boots.

“Tank Man” on Tiananmen Square, China, June 1989
Suits and Boots on Canada’s Canola Farms – May 2019

It takes courage to stand up to a tank. The picture above left of an anonymous, lone citizen – known simply as “Tank Man” – standing in front of a column of Chinese army tanks in Tiananmen Square 30 years ago remains an iconic image for a generation.

Canada is now having its own “Tank Man” moment. Will we stand strong, support our farm families and push back, or will we let Chinese tanks rip through our canola fields?

We hope you’ll help us #StandUpToChina. Today we start, with an email campaign to Chinese embassy and consular officials. In the weeks ahead, we will be reaching out to every Canadian trade association, cultural group, educational institution, sports organization and business that is in contact with China or doing business with China and urging them to take a strong and unequivocal stance in support of Canada’s canola farmers.

Here is our message today to the Chinese government – please use your own words to express something similar to the Ambassador and the four Consuls-General further below:

 Leave Canadian canola farmers out of your dispute with the United States.

  • Canadians are strong. Our farmers are tough. We will stand up for ourselves. We will not be rolled over.

  • In the long run, harming Canada’s farmers, who provide you with billions of dollars worth of the world’s best canola,  hurts you as well. 

  • China and the US need to hammer this out between them. Get it done – and leave us out of it.

In your emails, please be polite, but be firm. Be forceful, be direct and be very clear – but please maintain a level of courtesy and respect due to all diplomatic officials everywhere.

If you are a farmer impacted by this ban, tell the Chinese officials below how your business, your family and your life have all been affected. If you live in a canola producing area, tell these officials what you see and how this ban has been hurting your friends and neighbors. A huge part of the success of our Bill C-69 campaign was the raw force and honesty with which Suits and Boots supporters related their stories. Let’s duplicate that here.

If you do this, you will be helping us #StandUpToChina. Each email and each contact is an act of defiance. An act that shows pride in our country. An act that shows we will not be rolled over.

What you are doing here is nothing less than what “Tank Man” was doing in Beijing 30 years ago. Believe it.

Here’s who you can contact today:

Ambassador Lu Shaye of the People’s
The Republic of China to Canada –
Ottawa (Ottawa Region, Newfoundland & Labrador, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Nunavut)

Office email:  
Media relations:
Economy & trade office:

AHan Tao – Consul General of the People’s Republic of China in Toronto
(Ontario and Manitoba) Office

Office email:

Chen Xueming – Consul General of the People’s Republic of China in Montreal
(Quebec & New Brunswick)

Office email: 

Lu Xu – Consul General of the People’s Republic of China in Calgary
(Alberta, Saskatchewan, Northwest Territories)

Office email:  

Tong Xiaolin- Consul General of the People’s Republic of China in Vancouver
(BC & Yukon)

Office email: 

Thank you for helping us #StandUpToChina. Let’s get this done. Let’s help support Canada’s canola farmers and show them we care.

Rick Peterson,
Founder, Suits and Boots

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