Canada’s former immigration minister to be nation’s envoy to China

John McCallum, a one-time economist, will spearhead preliminary talks on a possible free trade agreement with Beijing

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 01 February, 2017, 1:58pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 01 February, 2017, 9:25pm

Two former ministers in Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government took up posts on Tuesday as envoys to China and the European Union with an eye to boosting trade.

John McCallum, who was most recently immigration minister responsible for the intake of Syrian refugees, will move to Beijing, where he is to spearhead preliminary talks on a possible free trade agreement with the Asian Tiger.

The former economist was first elected in 2000.

Stephane Dion, a Trump critic, who lost his job as foreign affairs minister in a recent cabinet shuffle, will become the next ambassador to both Germany and the EU.

China views potential deal with Canada as means to break US trade lock

The EU recently signed a free trade accord with Canada.

The former academic was first elected in 1996 and has held several portfolios in government, including the environment.

Dion was also briefly leader of the Liberal Party.

Trudeau described him as a “mentor”.

The new diplomatic configuration – having a single ambassador for both the EU and one of its member states – is highly unusual.