Chris Hall: Freeland installs “made in Canada” supply lines to prepare the second COVID wave in the country

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Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland says Canadian companies need to move their essential supply lines from abroad as the world prepares for a second wave of COVID-19.”I think that one of the consequences of the coronavirus will mean, for the economy, the transition from a kind of entry-level model just in time and at a lower cost to one that puts more emphasis on the resilience, put more emphasis on supply chains that are closer to home, “Freeland said in an interview aired on CBC on Saturday.The House.

The interview covered a range of topics, including a letter sent this week by a group of retired politicians and diplomats calling on the federal government to release Huawei’s executive, Meng Wanzhou, who was arrested in December 2018 on American extradition warrant.

The letter argues that Meng’s case prevents Canada from defining and pursuing an effective foreign strategy with China. He also claims that closing his extradition case could facilitate the release of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, two Canadians arrested by Chinese authorities in what Canada says is an act of reprisal for Meng’s arrest.

Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland talks about COVID-19, Canadians detained in China and NAFTA 2.0. 11:39

“Hostage Diplomacy”

“China has now openly admitted that the detention of the two Michaels is linked to the Meng case,” said Freeland. The Housecalling the imprisonment of the two men an act of “hostage diplomacy” by China.

Freeland said that if Canada freed Meng in exchange for China’s release of Kovrig and Spavor, it would send a signal “to all authoritarian regimes in the world” that the way to get what they want from Canada is to “Arbitrarily detain and arrest two Canadians …

“I think it would be a terrible and dangerous precedent to set. ”

Canada’s deteriorating relationship with China has threatened to interfere with its response to a pandemic. The superpower is a major supplier of goods to Canadian businesses – including personal protective equipment (PPE) much needed by medical personnel to combat COVID-19.

Storage for a rainy day

Freeland said making the country less dependent on foreign suppliers is a key part of the federal government’s approach as it prepares for future waves of COVID-19 infections.

This message reflects a warning Perrin Beatty, President of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, issued in April when he called on Canadian manufacturers to move from “just in time” to “just in case” of essential supplies. .

He argued that keeping stocks close at hand would hedge against future calamities while creating jobs in Canada.

In the spring, the global scramble to secure the supply of key protective medical equipment such as masks, face shields and gloves exposed the fragility of power lines just in time for emergencies. The federal government, in collaboration with the provinces, has taken strong steps to increase domestic production of PPE.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Friday that Canada was on the brink of bridging its PPE deficit, when it was reported in an Ottawa brewery that currently produces hand sanitizer on Friday.

“We are now coming to a place where we are almost self-sufficient (PPE) and able to change that and share with the world, especially the developing world,” he said.

Convincing major Canadian manufacturers to rely more on domestic supply chains – rather than cheaper materials produced abroad – represents a new type of challenge for the federal government, even if the new northern trade agreement -American officially comes into force on Canada Day.

While acknowledging that the pandemic has revealed significant weaknesses, Freeland saidThe House that Canada will continue to depend on and promote global trade agreements.

“But I think this is the time for us to reflect more than ever on the value of resilience here in our own country,” she said. “And that’s one of the reasons … as we prepare for new coronavirus outbreaks, we are putting so much emphasis on production in Canada.”

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