MANILA — Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Thursday assured that his government is “developing” a solution to the shipment of tons of Canadian waste to the country, which has been the subject of a couple of diplomatic protests filed by Manila.
In 2013, 50 containers of waste from Canada were impounded by Philippine customs authorities and left to rot in ports for two years.
Manila has conveyed its objection to the shipment to the Canadian government through at least two diplomatic notes, but Canada has refused to take action, insisting it was not backed by its government and that it was a private transaction.
“I have obviously been made aware of the situation and I’ve also been told that there is a Canadian solution in the process of being developed,” Trudeau told a press conference.
Trudeau acknowledged that the incident in the Philippines exposed a “problem” that “needs fixing” within Canada’s own legislation “that we’re going to lean into and make sure it happens.”
“I believe there are loopholes here that were allowed to be skirted that we need to make sure we close, both for Canada’s interest and for our good relationships with our neighbors,” he said.
In the previous diplomatic notes, the Philippines urged the Canadian government to assist with the re-exportation of the containers.
The Philippines’ Environment Department and the Bureau of Customs have called on Canada to “re-visit” its domestic regulations on the illegal export of waste to other countries and to remind it of its commitments under international treaties, specifically the Basel Convention.
The convention prevents the movement of hazardous waste between nations, specifically its transfer from developed to least developed states.
Trudeau vowed not to let the Philippine incident happen again.
“Well, I think, going forward, we need to ensure that if a situation like this were to arise once again that the Canadian government has more power to actually demand action from the companies responsible,” he said. Michaela del Callar/PNA