Harper in China: we come bearing goodwill


The plane carrying Stephen Harper, a handful of cabinet ministers and backbenchers, and the bedraggled media had barely taken off from a refueling stop in Anchorage when we received the “tidbit” one of the PM’s men had promised: Mark Rowswell, the Canadian who is famous in Canada for being famous in China, has been named Canada’s Goodwill Ambassador to China. This is a big change of pace for Rowswell, who as you know was, until today, an emissary of fear and suspicion. Just kidding.

The PM’s flight landed an hour ago at Beijing airport. Reporters were hustled into little vans, which hurried downtown with speed I found surprising until I realized the police had blocked the road we were on to all traffic but our own. Spotted in the vicinity of our hotel: Versace, Subway, 7-11, and the Globe’s China correspondent, Mark MacKinnon.

It’s Tuesday night here, and the agenda includes sleep. Wednesday begins around the time you’ll be eating dinner, and the Prime Minister, whom none of us have yet seen, has a Canadian Tourism Commission event in the morning, followed by a one-hour meeting with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao.


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Harper in China: we come bearing goodwill

  1. Drinking game for journos:

    Guzzle one pijiu every time Norman Bethune is mentioned.

  2. Reading your tweets, Wells, and it seems you are learning to cook. If you have time, go outside your hotel and eat some street food – it is delicious and you learn new ways to use your star anise. I’ve been to Shanghai many times and try to eat from vendors because it is mostly awesome except those scorpion/beetle kebabs, those are too mucking fuch and I won’t try them.

    What does your toilet do that it needs a control panel?

    • I suppose it’s obvious [ to everyone ‘cept me] where all those old macleans commenters are now; why bother coming to these boards when you can get it straight from the horses mouth? Strange business this journalism. I wonder if a day will ever come when journos are customizing their writng for each individual “news consumer” and beaming it directly to our I phones, er blackberries…the march of democracy to the drumbeat of its hi tech enabler…gotta love it. or get left behind in the low tech dust.
      Meanwhile I feel like cicero waiting here for the next parchment to arrive from the forbidden kingdom by carrier pigeon,all the while that bastard Guttenburg is in the basement cornering the market.

      Those weren’t scorpion/beetle kebabs by the way…those were those little bits of carbon flaking off the low tech cast iron domestic cookware…yummy and sooooo good for the digestion too!

      • I am luddite who is forced to live in 21st century because of work – job I do now didn’t exist even 10 years ago. Technology is bringing great change to our society whether we notice affects or not. 

        I don’t tweet myself but I read other twitter feeds because many journos seem to enjoy twitter and I need to regularly read certain journos for work. 

        And I, too, would enjoy Wells thoughts on lentil exports to India.

    • Somehow I doubt the taxi drivers and masses familiar with this character are the decision makers who matter. Just a hunch.

      • I think you’re right. Which is probably one of the things that distinguishes a “good will ambassador” from the actual ambassador. Just a hunch.

        To say nothing of the value of having both.

      • Geez Dot, the G&M article mentions that probably 900 million people watched him for just the Chinese New Year show.  I just did the Stanley Park seawall on Saturday and between giving directions, taking pictures, etc. most were visiting from….China.

        • Yes, but this is so old, it’s cliche. Next he’ll be deputized by the Mounties and be wearing a sealskin coat and mukluks.

          The point of the trip, if I understand it correctly, is to open up trade and establish relationships with the top Communist party leaders/business people. This is lame. And predictable. 

          Too bad the RIM guys weren’t still around. Much more impressive than a funny Jia Na Da ren from Ottawa.

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