Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Thank you, Ambassador Barton, for your opening remarks.
I want to echo Mr. Bergeron's comments and acknowledge your extraordinary efforts on a personal level in personally visiting Mr. Kovrig, Mr. Spavor and Mr. Schellenberg and offering them your support. It is very meaningful, and I've heard words to that effect, so thank you for doing that.
You were appointed, of course. I want to go into the effectiveness of some of the efforts internationally.
We may have a second round, Mr. Chair, and I hope we will in order to do some of that.
You were appointed only recently, in the middle of an election. You haven't appeared before a committee before, and this is the first opportunity for us to listen to you and to raise some things that have been raised in the public domain, of which I'm sure you're aware. As late as today, we had a release from Democracy Watch that suggests that your holdings, your history, your current holdings, those of your wife and her involvement in investments in the Asia-Pacific region give rise to a conflict of interest.
I don't want to get into blind trusts and any of those things because they are detailed and, potentially, would lead to a big discussion. I do just want to ask you this question because Canadians deserve an answer. What do you say to Canadians as to whether they should feel comfortable with you in this role, given the fact that it's been suggested that these involvements would lead you to be open to influence, given the suggestion that perhaps, consciously or unconsciously, your own approach and attitude in dealing with the Chinese on the issues may be influenced by your personal interests?
What do you say to Canadians about that criticism and that allegation? I want to give you an opportunity to respond to that.