21 November 2013
Permit me to begin by stressing that my respect for the Chinese people is longstanding. It grew during several visits to the country and meeting both nationals and members of the vast Chinese Diaspora. It is no accident that more than one million Canadians of origin in the Middle Kingdom are our most-educated cultural community. It was an honour to represent many of them in our Parliament for almost twenty seven years. Let me also note here something that diplomats, sinologists, journalists and business executives sometimes forget: China is its peoples, cultures and history far more than its unelected government. The criticisms many of us within and beyond China have are of its governance, but we also acknowledge that the economic policies of paramount leader Deng enabled hundreds of millions of Chinese families to lift themselves by hard work and intelligence out of grinding poverty–a state of affairs that existed unimproved from 1949 until the thrice-purged Deng made major reforms in the economy beginning in 1978.