Torontoist just returned from the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, and was feeling very establishmenty, having been confronted by a flag-waving gaggle of Free Tibet soul-seekers walking out the Front Street entrance. Wearing a tie (and not ie. a string of prayer beads and a lovey attitude), your TO-ist was apparently mistaken for one of the hundreds of businessmen trapped inside the MTCC listening to the Prime Minister.
The puffy, pouty prince of Parliament was, you see, delivering to the Canada China Business Council what was billed as a ‘major speech’ on Canada’s China policy. Understanding ‘major speech’ to ostensibly signal a shift, however small, in this country’s direction, Torontoist was expecting the PM to outline some sort of plan for encouraging Canadians to invest in what is quickly becoming the largest economy in the world.
The speech, however, basically signaled more of the same. The PM laid on the “China is so so so so important” line very thick, yet his plan for ensuring Canada stays ahead of the curve seemed to consist of instructing businesses interested in investing in the Middle Kingdom to hire Chinese Canadians. Which begs the question: if we want to do business in Britain, should we hire British transplants? What the hell is the PMO doing all day?
China’s economy has grown by forty per cent in the past four years, and while the American and European presences have grown accordingly (and Japan has increased its investment there by sixty percent), Canadian participation has managed only a seventeen point increase. And we highly doubt that there’s a high unemployment rate among Chinese Canadians the reversal of which will send the fruits of the bilateral relationship through the roof.
At least the PM is actually paying lip service to diversifying Canada’s trade base, rather than subscribing to the idiotic Conservative call for greater continental integration, but with a vision like Mr. Martin’s leading the way, Canada’s China policy is going to keep bumping into Great Walls.
In lighter news: John Manley was there, and boy is his eye still lazy.