Canadian lawmakers welcome return of garbage from Philippines
The issue of shipping back 69 containers of garbage from the Philippines to Canada was discussed during the debates at Canada's House of Commons May 7.
Parliament of Canada/2015 Library of Parliament/Martin Lipman
Canadian lawmakers welcome return of garbage from Philippines
Patricia Lourdes Viray ( - May 9, 2019 - 11:31am

MANILA, Philippines — A few members of Canada's House of Commons assured their colleagues that they are working to make sure that the 69 containers of garbage sent to the Philippines between 2013 and 2014 would return to their country.

Earlier this week, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Department of Environment and Natural Resources reported to President Rodrigo Duterte that the Canadian government would shoulder the cost of shipping back the remaining 69 containres of trash to Canada.

This development came after the president threatened to sail to Canada and dump the waste on the North American country.

During the session of the House of Commons May 7, Liberal MP Robert-Falcon Ouellette pointed out that the garbage was sent to the Philippines under the "Harper Conservatives" in 2013.

"I am proud to say, working with the member of Parliament for Winnipeg North, that we are going to make sure that garbage comes back, that we do not send garbage to poor countries and developing nations, that we actually spend time ensuring that we look after our environment here and that we look after the garbage we produce here," Oulette said.

Former Prime Minister Stephen Harper was Canada's head of state at the time the garbage were sent to the Philippines years ago. When Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau attended the 2015 APEC Summit in Manila, he committed to find a solution to the garbage issue.

Liberal MP Kevin Lamoureux also noted that the approach of the Harper administration was "to see if it could be resolved."

Lamoureux narrated that it undertook a court process, which he described as "fairly exhausting."

For the Liberal parliament member, Duterte's warning against Canada over the waste issue was "fitting given the importance of our environment."

"He (Duterte) made the very powerful statement that this garbage from Canada needed to go back to Canada. When the president became engaged, it raised the profile of the issue," Lamoureux said.

"As a government, we have responded to that call for action. We believe those 69 containers of garbage should be here in Canada and we will work to facilitate that," he added.

While the liberal parliament members of Canada welcomed the return of the garbage from the Philippines as good news, National Democratic Party MP Brian Masse questioned why this is considered a positive development when Duterte had to threaten to go to war for Canada to address the issue.

Masse also pointed out that there is a complication on the 69 containers of human waste and other trash left in the Philippines as some of them have been infested with termites.

"How is it a good news story that it took the Philippines threatening to go to war with Canada because of another Liberal broken promise? It is embarrassing. It is not a moment of pride," Masse said.

In response to Masse, Lamoureux pointed out that it was a private company that sent the trash to the Philippines.

"There is a thing called a court process. There were a number of things that were at play. I believe that President Duterte did a big favour, no doubt, in raising the profile of the issue," Lamoureux said.

In a statement released April 24, the Canadian Embassy in the Philippines mentioned that its country amended its regulations on waste shipments to other nations in 2016.

"We are committed to working collaboratively with the Government of the Philippines to ensure the material is processed in an environmentally responsible way," the Canadian Embassy said.

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