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

Greedy family’s maid overcomes them all in Surrey Little Theatre’s latest play

‘The Late Christopher Bean’ is staged at Clayton-area theatre for a month starting Jan. 23

Fire truck, police car hit in chain of crashes on Hwy. 99 in South Surrey

‘People weren’t paying attention,’ says Surrey assistant fire chief

Two-vehicle crash leads to argument in South Surrey

Police investigating after one driver left the scene

Final Four set at Surrey RCMP Classic, where a new champ will be crowned

Guildford Park beats Semiahmoo, ending Totems’ three-year championship run

City of Surrey spends $1.2M on winter maintenance – so far

Total budget of $3.7M; 7,000 tonnes of salt used

Kids across Canada more at risk of hospitalization from flu this season: doctor

Dr. Theresa Tam said influenza B does not usually peak until February or later

Closed mills, housing surge support a positive forecast for lumber industries

B.C. lumber producers have closed mills accounting for 18% of province’s capacity, RBC report says

Good Samaritan pays part of rent for B.C. woman facing eviction in can-collecting dispute

Zora Hlevnjak, 76, supplements her pension by collecting cans and receiving public donations

Should winter tires be mandatory in the Lower Mainland?

ICBC dial-a-claims go up as winter storm takes toll

Canada Post driver in hospital after ice smashes windshield at Massey Tunnel

Incident happened on Richmond side of the Massey Tunnel

Abbotsford bank ATM robbery thwarted by woman standing her ground

Police arrest alleged known robber running down South Fraser wearing balaclava

Kelowna’s ‘Baby Mary’ finds biological parents after more than 30 years

Geneologist and DNA test helped her connect with her biological parents

Kelowna hotel to award couples for baby-making with Nooner deal

The deal includes a free stay every Valentine’s Day for the next 18 years

Dad of missing Abbotsford woman charged after allegedly exposing himself in park

Barry Shpeley charged with sexual assault and assault

Most Read