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View John Williamson Profile
Thank you Chairman, and thank you to all our witnesses for being here today.
I'm going to build a little bit upon some of the remarks that Mr. Bergeron made. What struck me from the testimony was, to some slight degree, everyone seemed to agree that we can't go back. There is no going back to a normal relationship with China, as a result of what has taken place over the last number of years and months, as well as because of a changing and different China.
Someone mentioned this, and I'll come back to this. It seems we made a bet over the last generation that we would work to end China's isolation by granting the country most favoured nation status as a way to bring it into the international order and then, after that, into the World Trade Organization. I think I read at one point that even Margaret Thatcher's gamble on Hong Kong was to hand the territory back to mainland China in the hope that it would spark a more liberal approach to its politics, which of course, unfortunately, has not happened.
We are a liberal democracy. China is not, and if anything, it is reverting further away from us, so if what we're seeing is not working, and if the bet has not paid off, it would seem to me that the position of.... What struck me is that your comments run counter to what I hear from official Ottawa—from the Government of Canada policy—both from the ambassador, as well as ranking government officials. Is that correct? If you could maybe all limit your comments to a minute, I'd appreciate it.
Mr. Burton, why don't you start since you're right here?
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