40th Anniversary of Canada-China Relations

The China Institute co-sponsored with the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade a National Conference to celebrate 40 years of Canada-China Diplomatic Relations on October 13-14, 2010 in the National Capital. The two day conference examined the four decade-long relationship between Canada and China.

The Prime Minister, the Right Honourable Stephen Harper, and His Excellency Lan Lijun, Ambassador of the People's Republic of China attended the Conference reception in the Government Conference Centre on October 13th, the precise 40th anniversary of the October 13, 1970 establishment of diplomatic relations. The Chancellor of the University of Alberta Ms. Linda Hughes acted as Master of Ceremonies during the official reception. The Prime Minister made a statement on Canada-China relations, followed by Ambassador Lan Lijun.

On October 13th the conference proceedings focussed on the experiences of former civil servants who had direct managerial experience of the Canada-China relations. The panel was moderated by former Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Len Edwards, while the panellists included two former Ambassadors from Canada to China, Fred Bild, and Robert Wright, as well as former Commissioner to Hong Kong John Higginbotham, and Ken Sunquist, former DFAIT ADM for Asia Pacific and Africa and former Chief Trade Commissioner.

The Honourable John Baird, the Government House Leader, addressed the conference on October 14th, followed by PRC Ambassador Lan Lijun. The two statements, one by the a Minister of the Government of Canada, and one by the Chinese Ambassador provided parallel assessments by both governments of the state of the Canada-China relationship in 2010.

Chancellor Linda Hughes, Dr. Nelly Ng, Founding President of the Canadian Fund for International Understanding and Mr. Li Jianping's representative of the Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries also addressed the conference.

The formal portion of the second day of the Conference was followed by a discussion led by John Higginbotham on Canada-China trade relations. The luncheon keynote address titled "Canada-China Relations after 40" was delivered by Dr. Paul Evans, Director of the Institute of Asian Research at the University of British Columbia.

The afternoon sessions on October 14th centred on the history of Canada-China relations, the current state of state-to-state relations, and future prospects. These sessions were led by Phil Calvert and Joseph Wong respectively.