Thank you, Mr. Chair. Your Excellency, thank you for joining us today.
You said at the start that you take every opportunity to meet with Canadian citizens who are currently detained. Please convey our thoughts to them. All the members of this committee are deeply concerned about their situation. I would greatly appreciate it if you could express to them our solidarity regarding their situation at this time.
Mr. Chair, I won't hide my unease with the way that the work of this committee is proceeding. Quite honestly, it seems that the worst thing to do, under the current circumstances, is to undermine the credibility of the person representing Canada before the Chinese authorities.
On the contrary, Your Excellency, I believe that your experience and your work to date amply qualify you for your sensitive mission. We need only look at the fact that, as soon as you were appointed, the downward spiral in relations between Canada and China came to a halt. Fairly quickly, we were able to restore pork exports to China.
Some may say that the Chinese had no other choice because domestic production, given the swine flu, wasn't enough to meet the demand. However, the fact remains that there was a change in attitude. I know that your visits with detained Canadians are having a very positive impact. I want to thank you for this.
This brings me to my question. Your presence in China, in addition to your calibre as a person, your experience and your knowledge of Chinese cultural dynamics, has had all the effects that I just described. Isn't this the most tangible proof that the Government of Canada should have acted much faster to appoint an ambassador to Beijing, rather than waiting eight months during this long crisis before filling the position?