PM Trudeau attends reception for 45th anniversary of Canada-China diplomatic relations
Xie xie. Ni hao.
Thank you for inviting me to this event celebrating 45 years of diplomatic relations between Canada and China. It’s a real honour to be here today. This is a special event for me. As you may know, as you no doubt know, my father greatly contributed to establishing and developing the relationship between Canada and China. But it wasn’t just in the 1970s, it was when he came back from this country, from his first visit in 1960. He remained fascinated by its people and its culture. But he especially recognized the importance of engaging… actively engaging with China.
It’s something that he passed on to his sons as well. My brother is very much a Sinophile working on a book on China. I myself have been a number of times when I was younger with my father and on my own to visit China, and I look forward to opportunities in the coming years in my new responsibilities to visit and engage very positively with China because that’s just something that Canada has always done. We talk about 45 years, but as Stéphane highlighted, our history together goes back much longer than that and will continue long into the future.
Prime Ministers have always engaged with China, even starting as Stéphane pointed out, with Prime Minister Diefenbaker during the wheat fam… the famine.
So it goes beyond party lines, it goes beyond political perceptions. It has to do with how we engage to build opportunity for Canadians and opportunity for the Chinese in how we work together and collaborate.
Because, today, following 45 years of diplomatic relations, China and Canada have a strong and growing relationship. China plays a vital role in global institutions and a central role in global commerce as one of the world’s leading trading nations. We look forward to working closely with China in the years ahead to our mutual benefit and overall development. A key goal for us is to enhance our bilateral economic relations in order to grow Canada’s middle class and build long-term prosperity in both countries.
But we know governments can’t do it alone. We will continue to consult and engage with Canadians on what form this relationship can take. Our government welcomes the opportunity to work closely with Chinese partners to share our experiences, our challenges, and our successes in multiculturalism, human rights, religious freedoms, healthcare, and environmental protection. And can I say that the Paris conference on the environment of last year wouldn’t have been nearly the success it was if it hadn’t been for China taking a strong role and understanding that action on the environment is essential to all of us, and I thank the Chinese people for that leadership.
Our people-to-people ties have never been stronger. Canada’s Chinese community is thriving. We are seeing growing numbers of Chinese tourists in every corner of the country. There are increasing numbers of flights connecting our largest cities, and there are impressive numbers of Chinese students on our college and university campuses, but as Stéphane also pointed out, there’s always room for more.
We know that these connections bring higher levels of mutual understanding and strengthen our overall relations. Increased understanding was an important goal of the establishment of China-Canada diplomatic relations 45 years ago. While we, of course, have still much to learn from each other, I also know that our current relationship can and will translate into real economic growth and further mutual benefit in the years that lie ahead.
Thank you again for inviting me here today. It’s a great pleasure to celebrate with you such an important step in a friendship that will last for many years to come.