Barton heads a high-profile consulting firm, has served as key economic adviser to Liberal government
Barton, who was most recently managing director of the global consulting firm McKinsey & Company as well as an economic advisor to Finance Minister Bill Morneau and to the federal cabinet writ large, will take over the post vacated earlier this year.
The Trudeau government has picked a trusted economic adviser as its new ambassador to China.
Dominic Barton will be heading to Beijing to take on the role after the Chinese government formally accepted his appointment.
Barton serves as the chair of the finance minister’s advisory council on economic growth and has helped the Trudeau government shape its economic policies and strategies.
He’s also well known in the world of consulting as a global managing partner at the firm McKinsey & Company.
“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 in a statement.
According to a corporate biography posted online, Barton has spent time in China before. He was based in Shanghai as the company’s Asia chairman from 2004 to 2009
Barton, she added, will need to go through an extensive process to make sure his business interests do not pose a conflict of interests.
“Mr. Barton will have to ensure that there are no conflicts between his personal business interests and his public service and that absolutely does involve stepping down from boards, ensuring any assets he holds and decisions taken on them are not in conflict with his service to Canada,” she said.
In addition to detaining two Canadians, China has also slapped restrictions on imports of canola seed, soybeans, pork and beef from Canada.
Canadian officials call the detentions “arbitrary” and have been rallying allies over the last nine months to speak out in condemnation of China’s actions and to work behind the scenes to try to secure the release of Kovrig and Spavor.
Those allies include the European Union and the United States, which have both spoken out over the past month, with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo calling the behaviour by China “unacceptable.”
“China is making stronger moves than it has before to try and get its own way on the world stage,” Trudeau
“Western countries and democracies around the world are pulling together to point out that this is not something we need to continue to allow.”
Just last month, he made similar remarks.
“As a global community, we must recognize that China is a growing power and increasingly assertive towards its place in the international order,” Trudeau said at a Montreal Council on Foreign Relations event.
“But make no mistake: We will always defend Canadians and Canadian interests.”
Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer had called on Trudeau to quickly fill the ambassadorship but also wants to see the government cut support to projects with China, including the Beijing-run Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, to which Canada has committed $256 million over five years.