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Environment activists belonging to the waste and pollution watch group Ecowaste Coalition staged a die-in protest in Makati on May 21, 2019, calling on the Canadian government to comply with the Basel convention. Photo by Jire Carreon/Rappler

Canada employs Bolloré to end spat with the Philippines

PortandTerminal.com, June 6, 2019

Canada has employed the logistics company Bolloré to remove the containers of trash that have been left stranded at the Port of Manilla for the past 6 years.

Canada’s environment minister, Catherine McKenna, said yesterday that Canadian trash that has been rotting in the Philippines for nearly six years will be back on Canadian soil before the end of June.

Ottawa has awarded a contract to Bolloré Logistics Canada to return 69 containers filled with household waste and electronic garbage.

The trash was sent to the Philippines by a private Canadian company in 2013 and 2014 and was improperly labelled as plastics for recycling. The shipment has caused a rift between Manila and Ottawa with Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte even recalling his ambassador and consul generals from Canada over the issue.

Canada won’t be quick to forget

Canada’s environment minister, Catherine McKenna

Now that the trash has been removed it is time for the Philippines to rebuild its diplomatic ties with Canada. The Philippines’ bellicose leader Rodrigo Duterte at one point had threatened to declare war on Canada if they did not remove the offending containers from the port of Manila by May 15th.

We’ll declare war against them, we can handle them anyway.

President Rodrigo Duterte

When Canada missed the May 15th deadline the Philippines withdrew key members of its embassy staff in Canada and cut relations with the country.

Yesterday though it was announced that the Philippines were restoring limited diplomatic ties with Canada. Smart move. The Philippines have 850,000 of its people living and working in Canada. The Philippines’ shaky economy relies on remittances back home from its workers living abroad to keep the country afloat.

Time will tell whether the famously polite Canadians are prepared to forgive their rough treatment by the Duterte government and work with them in the future. Canada may forgive, but it won’t likely forget.

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