Canada’s next Ambassador to China is B.C.-raised Dominic Barton

Barton graduated from high school in Chilliwack where he demonstrated a fierce talent for debating

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the appointment of Dominic Barton — who grew up in Chilliwack — as Canada’s Ambassador to China.

The PMO announcement cited Barton’s experience in Asia, his mastery of global economics, and stint advising cabinet as relevant background for the appointment.

Those were some of the reasons why he’ll make “a great choice to represent Canada — and Canadian interests — in China,” PM Trudeau was quoted as saying in the Sept. 4 release.

Barton will advise the PM directly on China, with the delicate goal of mending the relationship between the two countries, since his predecessor, John McCallum was forced to step down in January after key missteps.

Barton said he looks forward to the new challenge.

“It is an honour to be appointed as Canada’s Ambassador to China. The relationship between Canada and China is an important one, and I will work hard to represent our great country and to resolve the challenges that currently exist,” Barton said.

READ MORE: Economic advisor to named ambassador to China

Some folks remember when Barton was a teenager in Chilliwack.

Barry Penner, a former B.C. Liberal cabinet minister and long-time MLA for Chilliwack-Kent, remembers the Barton family moving to Chilliwack in the mid-1970s. They lived on Edson Drive near Sardis secondary, and that’s where Penner met Anthony, Dominic’s younger brother.

One day, Anthony brought an election sign and stickers into the classroom, which was not appreciated one bit by the teacher of a different political persuasion, Penner remembered. The lawn sign was for Alexander Patterson, the sitting Tory MP.

“I remember that Dominic was quite active politically as a member of the Fraser Valley Young Progressive Conservatives,” Penner said.

His dad, Rev. John Barton was the rector at St. John’s Anglican, where the Tory MP at the time, Alexander Patterson, attended church.

MP Patterson represented the PCs from 1972 to 1984 for Fraser Valley East.

“It’s interesting that he (Barton) seems pretty close these days to the Prime Minister and (Foreign Affairs Minister) Chrystia Freeland,” Penner said.

It’s clear Barton had a taste for politics from quite early on.

An excellent student, Barton was a scholarship winner and a champion debater while at Sardis Secondary.

He enjoyed the privilege of attending the Forum for Young Canadians in Ottawa in 1980, where he toured the House of Commons and participated in mock Parliament as the leader of the Opposition.

“It was a great opportunity to meet people and see how Canada is run,” Barton is quoted as saying in an April 9, 1980 story in the Chilliwack Progress, maybe foreshadowing a tad.

He raised $400 on his own to attend the forum in the nation’s capital.

Barton was also mentioned in The Progress, for his valedictorian speech of June 18, 1980, where he waxes eloquent on the shining potential of his classmates:

“Barton exhorted the gathering of parents and friends to recognize the abilities and eagerness of the graduating class in tackling the problems that lie ahead for us all,” according to The Progress article.

“He pressed his point saying, ‘And those of you who don’t think there are problems and an energy crisis — wake up!’”

Barton eventually graduated from the University of British Columbia with an Honours Bachelor of Arts in Economics, and studied as a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University, where he obtained his Master of Philosophy in Economics.

He also holds eight honourary doctorates from academic institutions around the world.

But it’s Barton’s expertise in Asia that will serve him particularly well in the new role.

He is a Senior Trustee of the Brookings Institution, a member of the Singapore Economic Development Board’s International Advisory Council, and a member of the boards of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City and the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada.

He is one of the founders of FCLTGlobal (Focusing Capital on the Long Term), has co-authored four books, and is an Adjunct Professor at Tsinghua University in Beijing. He chaired Trudeau’s Economic Growth advisory council, and became chair of Teck Resources last October. From 2009 to 2018, Barton was the global managing partner at McKinsey & Co., gaining prodigious experience in international business and trade.

READ MORE: Cabinet retreat to mull over Trump


@CHWKjourno
jfeinberg@theprogress.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Duncan Lanes bowlers take on the best in B.C.

The best results for the Cowichan Valley bowlers came in the intermediate girls division

Sonia Furstenau column: Now the time to make changes for the better

This coronavirus has given us opportunity to identify what matters most in our day-to-day lives.

A second wave of COVID-19 is probable, if history tells us anything

B.C.’s top doctor says that what health officials have learned this round will guide response in future

Drivesmart column: Staying on your side of the road

No exemptions that grant permission to disobey the keeping to the right rule based on convenience.

Mary Lowther column: Starting seeds to beat the slugs, wood bugs

My favourite sorts of seedling starters are the plastic cells that fit inside trays

LIVE: Procession to honour Snowbirds Capt. Jennifer Casey comes to Halifax

Snowbirds service member died in a crash in Kamloops one week ago

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

RCMP facing ‘systemic sustainability challenges’ due to provincial policing role

Provinces, territories and municipalities pay anywhere from 70 to 90 per cent of the cost of the RCMP’s services

One man dead after standoff with Chilliwack RCMP

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is investigating the RCMP’s role in the death

B.C. employers worry about safety, cash flow, second wave in COVID-19 restart

A survey found 75 per cent of businesses worry about attracting customers

Ex-BC Greens leader Andrew Weaver says province came close to early election

Disagreement centred on the LNG Canada project in northern B.C.

Canada’s NHL teams offer options to season-ticket holders

Canadian teams are offering refunds, but also are pushing a number of incentives to let them keep the money

B.C. premier says lessons to learn from past racism during response to pandemic

B.C. formally apologized in the legislature chamber in 2008 for its role in the Komagata Maru tragedy

Snowbirds to remain at Kamloops Airport indefinitely after fatal crash

small contingent of the Snowbirds team is staying in Kamloops, acting as stewards of the jets

Most Read