Canadian grassroots group Suits and Boots launched a nationwide #StandUpToChina campaign today to persuade China to lift its ban on Canadian canola entering that country, first implemented in March.
“Today, we are standing up for Canada’s Prairie farmers, who are being used as pawns in a diplomatic and trade-war chess game between the U.S. and China that has nothing to do with them,” said Suits and Boots founder and Edmonton businessman Rick Peterson. “This is causing immense pain in Saskatchewan, Alberta and Manitoba as well as in B.C., Ontario and Quebec. Our canola farmers are crushed, and need Canadians’ support.”
Suits and Boots’ 3,700 supporters have mobilized in the #StandUpToChina campaign to persuade China to lift its ban on Canadian canola, as well as peas, soybeans and pork, which have also been restricted. This morning, Suits and Boots members began calling and emailing China’s Ambassador to Canada, based in Ottawa, as well as the four Chinese Consuls-General located in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto and Montreal.
The organization will also be contacting Canadian businesses, trade organizations, cultural and sporting groups, and any entity that is visiting with or doing business with China and asking them to join in the effort. Every week from now through the fall, when the Prairie canola crops are harvested, the group will be reaching out to new groups and individuals, asking for their support.
“The canola ban was clearly in retaliation to Canada’s role in arresting Meng Wanzhou, the CFO of Chinese tech giant Huawei, last December in Vancouver. Our government is using quiet diplomacy to resolve this issue, but all that they’ve been able to do is offer loans to farmers, which just gets them deeper into debt,” Peterson said. “It’s time someone stood up to China and spoke out loud on behalf of our canola farmers, and that’s what we’re doing.”
Suits and Boots enjoyed considerable success in leading the fight against Bill C-69 in the Senate through an intensive national phone and email campaign that started last September. Peterson said he believes that the same effort will yield results for its #StandUpToChinacampaign.
Peterson pointed out that it was 30 years ago this summer that Chinese government tanks crushed a student protest in Beijing, with an iconic photo of an anonymous “Tank Man” standing before a column of Chinese tanks in protest being a powerful symbol of resistance.
“It takes courage to stand up to a tank,” said Peterson, “and it takes courage to stand up to China today. Canada is having its own ‘Tank Man’ moment. Will we stand strong and support our Prairie farm families and push back, or will we let China destroy our canola farms? We know where we stand on that issue – it’s time to #StandUpToChina”.
Suits and Boots is a not-for-profit group of Canadian investment industry professionals working alongside farmers and resource sector workers.www.suitsandboots.ca
Founder, Suits and Boots