Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters at a press conference following the G20 summit on Saturday that China is co-operating with Canada to curb the flow of fentanyl, contrary to a Global News investigation.
“China has been actually working with Canadian officials and Canadian law enforcement over the past months, to take measures on the flow of fentanyl into Canada,” Trudeau said. “There is, obviously, as you say, more to do. We recognize that this is a crisis that is continuing in Canada and indeed getting worse,” Trudeau said at the press conference, responding to questions from Global News.
However, a Global News investigation published earlier on Saturday revealed that Canada’s opioid crisis continues to accelerate because of a growing diplomatic dispute with China.
Canadian law enforcement agencies have found that fentanyl and its chemical precursors are produced primarily in factories located in southern China before being sent to North America.
While in public, the Canadian government maintains that there is co-operation with the Chinese government to curb the flow of fentanyl, frustration is brewing over China’s inaction on the issue.
“It’s a huge fight with China right now, and if you anger the Chinese they won’t work with you,” said a source, who asked not be identified. “The fentanyl coming into Canada is going to get worse. Nothing will happen because we have to satisfy what they (the Chinese government) want.”
WATCH: Where is the political will to stop the fentanyl crisis?
According to Global’s reporting, Chinese officials want the freedom to pursue alleged corruption suspects and financial fugitives in B.C. Among these are a suspect accused of absconding with about $1 billion from a Beijing company.
However, a source told Global News that China’s request to send a police liaison to Vancouver was rejected by Canada’s Global Affairs department because of national security concerns.
Trudeau added on Saturday afternoon that Canada will continue to work with international partners, including the United States and China, to do a better job protecting Canadians “because the tragedies going on in communities and families right across this country from opioid overdoses are unfortunately continuing.”
He said that Canadian officials are pursuing all the available tools to fight the opioid crisis, including “support for front-line workers on the ground, working with provincial health authorities, working to give law enforcement new tools, working with medical professionals to strengthen some of the prescription guidelines and indeed provide alternative opportunities for prescriptions, and work with international partners.”
WATCH: The B.C. compound police believe may be connected to “transnational drug trafficking” and the fentanyl trade
Trudeau discussed a number of other subjects at the press conference, including asking Russian President Vladimir Putin to release Ukrainian sailors who have been taken prisoner after Russia seized three Ukrainian naval vessels near Crimea. He says Putin did not have an opportunity to respond to his remarks during the meeting of leaders.
In addition, Trudeau told reporters that he spoke to Saudi Arabia’s crown prince at a dinner Friday night, discussing the diplomatic discord that has emerged between Canada and the kingdom.
WATCH: Sources: China won’t stop flood of fentanyl into Canada
–With files from Sam Cooper, Andrew Russell and Stewart Bell.