Speaker Bios

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An Armchair Discussion on China’s Latest Five-Year Plan with Ambassador Dominic Barton and Canada West Foundation CEO Gary G. Mar
Monday, May 10, 2021

Dominic Barton, Canada’s Ambassador to China, Embassy of Canada to China, Beijing

Mr. Dominic Barton was appointed as Canada’s Ambassador to the People’s Republic of the China by the Right Honourable Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on September 4, 2019.

Prior to his nomination, Ambassador Barton was a Global Managing Partner at McKinsey & Company where he served from 2009 to 2018. Ambassador Barton also served as Chairman of Teck Resources and as Non-Executive Director at the Singtel Group in Singapore and Investor AB in Sweden. He was also a board member of the Olayan Group, a private family-owned company.

In 2016, Ambassador Barton assumed the responsibility of Chair for the Canadian Minister of Finance’s Advisory Council on Economic Growth. He was also the Chair of the Seoul International Business Advisory Council for six years prior to his nomination. Ambassador Barton also served as a

Senior Trustee of the Brookings Institution, as a member of the Singapore Economic Development Board’s International Advisory Council, and as a member of the boards of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City and the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada. Mr. Barton is also one of the founders of Focusing Capital on the Long Term (FCLTGlobal).

In 2018, Ambassador Barton was named Chancellor of the University of Waterloo. He has also served as Co-Chair on the Max Bell School of Public Policy Advisory Board at McGill University and on the University of Toronto Psychiatry Campaign Cabinet where he engaged in volunteer support, community outreach and leadership development. In addition to these roles, Ambassador Barton served on the board of the Malala Fund, has been actively involved in the HeForShe initiative, and worked with the Mastercard Foundation to create employment in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Ambassador Barton has co-authored four books, including on topics related to financial management and leadership. He is an Adjunct Professor at Tsinghua University in Beijing, and the recipient of eight honorary doctorates, including from the University of Toronto, the University of British Columbia and the University of Edinburgh.

Ambassador Barton graduated from the University of British Columbia with a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Economics and has a Master of Philosophy in Economics from Oxford University, where he studied as a Rhodes Scholar.

Ambassador Barton was born in Kampala, Uganda, in September 1962. He is married and has four children.

Gary G. Mar, CEO, Canada West Foundation

Gary G. Mar was named President and CEO of the Foundation in April 2020. An accomplished and respected leader, Gary brings deep experience in government and business, and established expertise in CWF’s key policy areas in natural resources, trade and investment and human capital.

Prior to joining the CWF, Gary served as President and CEO of the Petroleum Services Association of Canada (PSAC), the national trade association representing the service, supply and manufacturing sectors within the upstream petroleum industry.

Gary has broad experience in government having served as a Member of the Legislative Assembly in the Province of Alberta from 1993-2007. During his time as an elected official, Gary held several Cabinet portfolios – Community Development; Health and Wellness; Education; Environment; and International and Intergovernmental Relations.

Gary then served as the Official Representative (Minister-Counselor) of the Province of Alberta at the Canadian Embassy in Washington D.C., from 2007 – 2011. He worked extensively with the Alberta energy sector on advocacy issues in Washington DC and many U.S. States. Gary next served as the Province of Alberta’s Representative in Asia from 2011 to 2015. He led the province’s strategic outreach efforts from his post in Hong Kong and worked with Alberta’s offices in Beijing, Shanghai, Tokyo, Seoul, and Taipei.

Following his government service, Gary was an independent consultant working for both Chinese and Canadian companies seeking assistance with trans Pacific trade and investment. In 2016, he co-founded Canadian Advantage Petroleum Corporation which has successfully purchased heavy oil in Alberta and sold it directly to refineries in China.

Gary has been appointed as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Alberta School of Business in Marketing, Business Economics and Law beginning July 1, 2020. He is also an Adjunct Professor at the University of Calgary’s Haskayne Business School and is a public speaker at energy related conferences.

Gary completed a Law degree at the University of Alberta and practiced criminal, civil, corporate, commercial and real estate law in Calgary prior to entering politics.

Carlo Dade, Director, Trade and Investment Centre, Canada West Foundation

As Director of the Trade & Investment Centre, Carlo Dade develops and leads research to promote growth and profitability in western Canada’s export economy. Carlo has a long history in international public policy most recently as Senior Fellow in the University of Ottawa’s School of International Development and Senior Associate at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C. He is also a member of the Mexican Council on Foreign Relations (COMEXI).

Carlo has been a leading voice in debates on recent Canadian free trade agreements and development of trade infrastructure. He has a reputation for big-picture thinking and is a leading global expert on pan-Pacific trade, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership and Pacific Alliance trade blocs. He is one of Canada’s leading commentators on North American competitiveness and Canada-Mexico relations. Carlo is a highly sought-after media commentator throughout North America.

Context for Western Canada
Monday, May 10, 2021

Jia Wang, Interim Director, China Institute, University of Alberta, Edmonton

Jia Wang is the Interim Director (2021) of the China Institute at the University of Alberta where she manages research, programs as well as government and media relations since 2011. Jia has over 14 years of direct management experience focusing on the economic and political dimensions of contemporary China and Canada-China relations in various capacities. At the China Institute, in addition to managing the operation and staff, she leads policy research initiatives examining Canada’s diplomatic, trade, investment and energy linkages with China. Jia also advises University senior leaders as well as public and private sector corporations on China-related matters. She is frequently invited to provide media commentary and presentations as well as moderate international conferences.

Prior to joining the China Institute, Jia worked as a television news reporter, anchor and producer covering major political, business and cultural affairs for OMNI TV network from 2008 to early 2011. She also worked as a business consultant for a leading Canadian energy company – Enbridge Pipeline Inc. and a conference interpreter for various business, government and educational agencies at executive-level meetings and major conferences.

Jia holds Bachelor of Laws (first class honours) from Peking University and pursued doctoral studies at the University of Toronto. She has written columns for the largest Chinese newspaper and taught business communication and cultural etiquette in Canada.

Jiantuo Yu, Deputy Secretary General, China Development Research Foundation, Beijing

Jiantuo Yu is the Deputy Secretary General of the China Development Research Foundation (CDRF). Before joining CDRF in 2009, he worked at John-Hopkins Nanjing Center (2001-2005), Center for Human and Economic Development Studies (Peking University) (2005-2007) and UNDP China Country Office (2007-2008). He had been the visiting fellow of OPHI, Oxford University in 2008, and been the visiting fellow of Harvard Kennedy School in 2018. He works in the areas of urbanization and regional development, the Belt & Road Initiative, rural finance system, poverty and inequality, international development cooperation, poverty and inequality, and theory and practice of human development approach, rural finance market, etc.

Daniel Koldyk, Counsellor (Economics and Finance) and Chief Representative of the Department of Finance, Embassy of Canada to China, Beijing

Daniel Koldyk was appointed to the Embassy of Canada to China as Counsellor (Economics and Finance) and Chief Representative of the Department of Finance to China in August 2018. In this role, he leads the Embassy’s macroeconomic analysis of greater China, strategic economic and financial policy and financial services advocacy for the China market. He has also served on the Board of Directors of the Asian Infrastructure and Investment Bank and as Representative to the Financial Action Task Force, an intergovernmental body that addresses issues related to money laundering and terrorist financing.

Prior to this post, Daniel was the Special Advisor on China and Asia for the Department of Finance Canada. He also worked on Chinese economic reform and international investment with EDC Economics and served as a China specialist for the Canadian foreign ministry.

Daniel completed an MPhil and doctorate at the University of Oxford, St. Antony’s College, and spent more than seven years in Beijing, Shandong and Liaoning researching issues related to economic and political policymaking. He has a Master of Arts in East Asian Studies from the University of Toronto and an undergraduate degree from the University of Western Ontario.

Daniel has published his research in North American, European, and Asian journals and won several research awards, including the University of Oxford’s Wai Seng Senior Research Scholarship and a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Doctoral Fellowship.

Daniel currently resides in Beijing with his wife, Angie, and two daughters, Rivers and Everest.

Peter Hall, Vice-President and Chief Economist, Export Development Canada, Ottawa

Peter Hall joined Export Development Canada (EDC) in November 2004. With over 30 years of experience in economic analysis and forecasting, Mr. Hall is responsible for overseeing EDC’s economic analysis, country risk assessment and corporate research groups. In addition to preparing strategic advice for senior management at EDC, Mr. Hall is a featured
speaker at conferences, international roundtables and policy fora, and regularly appears in television, radio and print media commenting on the world economy and Canadian international trade issues. He produces a widely circulated print and video weekly commentary covering an eclectic range of current global economic issues.

Prior to joining EDC, Mr. Hall directed the economic forecasting activities of the Conference Board of Canada. Mr. Hall has served as president of both the Canadian Association for Business Economics, a 600- member national association of professional economists, and its largest local chapter, the Ottawa Economics Association. He has also been a volunteer board and committee member for two Ottawa area private schools. Mr. Hall has degrees in economics from both Carleton University and the University of Toronto.

Trade in Agriculture
Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Sharon Sun, Trade Policy Economist, Canada West Foundation and Distinguished Fellow, Asia Pacific Foundation

Sharon specializes in research on international trade and trade infrastructure policy. She is also a Distinguished Fellow for the Asia Pacific Foundation. Some of her major work includes the impact of Made-in-China 2025, China’s industrial policy, on Canadian trade and western Canadian export opportunities with Japan under the CPTPP. Other work includes addressing Chinese non-tariff barriers on Canadian agricultural exports among other trade agreement and trade related issues.

Sharon is a Ph.D. candidate at the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs, Carleton University. She has a background in international business (B.IB, Carleton University; MSc IB, ESCI-Pompeu Fabra University) and various international work experiences in business analysis, research and consultation. Prior to joining the Foundation, she was an associate researcher with the Centre for Trade Policy and Law and an instructor at the Sprott School of Business.

Motria Savaryn-Roy, Senior Economist, Export Development Canada, Ottawa

A Senior Economist with the Economic and Political Intelligence Centre at Export Development Canada (EDC), Canada’s export credit agency, Motria is the lead for analyzing economic and political risk and developing macroeconomic forecasts for Greater China. Prior EDC, she worked as an economist at Global Affairs Canada where she had the opportunity to work on the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), as well as a specialist in the Office of the Chief Economist. Before working for the federal government, she worked for the Government of Alberta’s Department of Finance.

Motria holds an M.A. in International Affairs from the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs, Carleton University, as well as an M.A. in Economics from the University of Ottawa.

Betti-Jo Ruston, Counsellor, Manager of the Agriculture, Agrifood and Fisheries Section, Trade Program, Embassy of Canada in Beijing

Betti-Jo Ruston is the Agriculture and Food Counsellor at the Canadian Embassy in Beijing, focusing on market access issues and market development for Canadian agriculture and agri-food exports across China.

Betti-Jo brings extensive trade experience to her current position, having previously held positions in the Global Issues and Development Branch, the Trade Policy and Negotiations Branch, as well as having served as Counsellor (Trade Policy) at the Canadian Embassy in Mexico City.  Betti-Jo has held various positions at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, the Treasury Board Secretariat and Human Resources Development Canada, focusing on Canada’s trade and domestic policy agendas.  Born in Ontario, Betti-Jo graduated from the University of Ottawa with a Bachelor Degree in Political Science and also has a Masters of Arts degree in Political Science from the University of Western Ontario.

Energy Targets and Climate Goals
Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Marla Orenstein, Director, Natural Resources Centre, Canada West Foundation

As Director of the Natural Resources Centre, Marla Orenstein champions the responsible development of the West’s natural resources for the benefit of all. Much of her work focuses on Canada’s energy future and how Canadian business can prosper as the world transitions to cleaner forms of energy.

In previous roles, Marla worked closely with industry and communities on the impacts of energy and resource development projects including electricity, mining, solar, wind, hydro, and oil and gas. Marla is a subject matter expert in impact assessment, and brings a comprehensive understanding of current standards and best practices of regulatory agencies, multilateral finance institutions, international agencies and industry organizations to the CWF. She is both past President and President-Elect of the International Association for Impact Assessment (IAIA) and a Fellow of the Energy Futures Lab.

Ralph J. Lutes, Executive Director and General Manager, Teck China and Vice President of Asia, Teck Resources Limited, CCBC Beijing Advisory Council Member, Beijing

Ralph Lutes was appointed Vice President, Asia in May 2011 and Executive Director and General Manager, Teck China, in November

In this role he is responsible for Teck’s business portfolio in Asia which includes oversight of marketing, macroeconomic and market analysis teams in offices in Beijing and Shanghai as well as corporate development and government relations functions. Prior to joining Teck, Ralph practiced corporate law in Toronto, Hong Kong and Vancouver and also served as Managing Director with CIBC World Markets in Singapore with responsibility for the Far East and Australia. He holds a Bachelor of Laws from the University of New Brunswick and a Bachelor of Commerce (Hons.) from Queen’s University. In July, 2017 Ralph was appointed by Prime Minister Trudeau to a three year term as a Canadian member of the APEC Business Advisory Council. He is based in Beijijng.

Robert Kwauk, Partner Emeritus, Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP, CCBC Beijing Advisory Council Member, Beijing

Robert Kwauk is Partner Emeritus with Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP, where he recently retired from active practice after nearly a quarter century with this top ranked Canadian law firm, the majority of which was spent as the leader of their China practice.

Bob relocated to Beijing in 1998 where he established the Blakes’ office in China and managed the operation for over 20 years. Bob was the primary contributor to the firm’s China Practice Group, where he worked on dozens of major transactions (mining, oil & gas, real estate, technology, transportation, financing, etc.) undertaken by Chinese companies in and through Canada, with value totaling well into the tens of billions of dollars. Bob has been recognized by Chambers Global, World’s Leading Business Lawyers for M&A and Canadian Experts in China; and by Who’s Who Legal for his work in the Energy & Natural Resources Practice. Previous to Blakes’, he worked with Bennett Jones in Calgary after concluding his first career, serving in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police for over a decade – 60% of which was working on national security related matters.

Bob continues to reside in Beijing and consults a number of listed Chinese and Canadian business entities in the legal and energy space, and serves as Chairman of the Canada China Business Council’s Beijing Advisory Committee. He holds a joint LL.B/MBA from the University of Alberta, and completed his undergraduate studies at Simon Fraser University.

Michelle Jette, Trade Commissioner – Team Leader on Clean Tech, Forestry and Building Products, Trade Program, Embassy of Canada in Beijing

Michelle Jette is a Second Secretary (Commercial), Team Lead and Trade Commissioner at the Embassy of Canada in Beijing, China, responsible for clean technologies, infrastructure, forestry, and responsible business conduct.

Prior to working at the Embassy of Canada in Beijing, Michelle held various roles at Global Affairs Canada, working as a trade commissioner in the Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) Practice, Cleantech Practice and Greater China Division.

Michelle graduated from the University of Ottawa with a Bachelor Degree in Political Science and Minor in Business Administration and has a Master’s Degree from Carleton University in International Affairs with a specialization in economics.

Service Industries
Thursday, May 13, 2021

Robert J. Hanlon, Director, Canada and the Asia Pacific Policy Project, Associate Professor of Asian Politics and Human Security, Thompson Rivers University, Kamloops

Robert J. Hanlon is an Associate Professor in Political Science at Thompson Rivers University (TRU), Director of the Canada-Asia Pacific Policy Project at TRU, and an Associate Faculty member in the School of Humanitarian Studies at Royal Roads University. His research explores the links between human security and corporate social responsibility in emerging Asian economies (especially China). Prior to joining TRU, Dr. Hanlon served as a postdoctoral fellow at the Institute of Asian Research (UBC), and taught at University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University and the Royal Military College of Canada. Outside academia, he has worked for the Asian Human Rights Commission, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong, as well as the High Commission of Canada in Australia. Dr. Hanlon holds a PhD in International Relations and Asian Politics from City University of Hong Kong, a master’s degree of International Studies in Peace and Conflict Resolution from the University of Queensland, as well as a BA in Political Science and Philosophy from the University of Victoria. He has been a visiting scholar at the Centre for Socio-Legal Studies (Oxford), the Liu Institute for Global Issues (UBC), the Sasin Graduate Institute of Business Administration (Chulalongkorn), the Balsillie School of International Affairs (Waterloo), as well as the University of Hong Kong.

Wendy Therrien, Director, External Relations and Research, Universities Canada, Ottawa

Wendy Therrien is director, external relations and research at Universities Canada, leading the government relations, international and public policy work of the association.  She is responsible for overseeing the development and execution of the organization’s strategies to advance member interests in priority areas including: research and innovation; skills and talent; Indigenous education; international mobility; and equity, diversity and inclusion. Through her engagement with officials, Wendy promotes the important role Canada’s universities play in addressing the priorities of Canadians.  Ms. Therrien joined Universities Canada in January 2017.

Prior to joining Universities Canada, Ms. Therrien worked at the Canadian Network for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health, Colleges and Institutes Canada and World Vision Canada.  She was responsible for overseeing a team of professionals involved in diverse activities including public policy engagement and government relations.

She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree (Political Science) from McMaster University, a Master of Arts in political science from York University and a Bachelor of Social Work from McGill University.

Justin Downes, President, Axis Leisure Management, CCBC Beijing Advisory Council Member, Beijing

Justin Downes serves as President of Axis Leisure Management and has held a number of senior resort and tourism leadership roles over 25 years and on three continents including some of the industry’s leading four-season resorts.

Prior to founding Axis, Mr. Downes served as Senior VP Operations for Melco China Resorts (formerly Intrawest China) and was responsible for the planning, development, and operation of five major resorts in China’s North East including Yabuli and Beidahu. He later served as COO for Genting Secret Garden Resort (host resort for the 2022 Winter Olympics), overseeing business and master planning up to the time of opening. Axis is currently involved in multiple high-profile mountain resorts and indoor winter sport developments as well as working with multiple iconic international sport, leisure and tourism brands. Mr. Downes also currently serves on the Board of Directors of Freestyle Canada – Canada’s national freestyle ski program.

Prior to coming to China in 2006, Mr. Downes held the role of CEO for Hotham Skiing Company, one of Australia’s leading ski resorts and tourism assets. From 2000-2005, he served as the opening General Manager and Developer of Kicking Horse Mountain Resort in Canada’s Rocky Mountains. As the leader of this project, he oversaw all aspects of the development and operations that lead to it becoming one of North America’s leading resort properties. Throughout the 90’s, Mr. Downes held a number of Executive roles with Intrawest ULC, in Whistler and Panorama, British Columbia.

Sarah Gross, Trade Commissioner – Team Leader for Education, Trade Program, Embassy of Canada in Beijing

Sarah Gross, first Secretary and Trade Commissioner (Education) at the Embassy of Canada in Beijing, was posted to China in January 2020 and works with Canadian educational institutions to promote Canada’s highly rated educational programs as well as academic collaboration with China.  Previously she worked at the Consulate General in Mumbai supporting Canada’s bilateral relations and at the Global Affairs Canada headquarters in Ottawa. This will be Sarah’s ninth year living in China, she first came to China as a student in 2005 studying Mandarin and then returned after graduation, working locally in Zhuhai and Beijing and honing her Mandarin ability. She holds a degree in East Asian Languages from Hamilton College and is from the great province of Saskatchewan.

What Now?
Thursday, May 13, 2021

Noah Fraser, Managing Director, China, Canada China Business Council & Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Beijing

Noah has over 15 years of progressive international career growth across multiple industries, including government & corporate affairs, manufacturing, education and life sciences. His depth of experience includes the public, private and non-profit sectors, and he is fluent in Mandarin Chinese and French. He has spent a combined 8 years working and studying in Mainland China and Hong Kong.

He currently serves as Managing Director, China at the Canada China Business Council, based in Beijing. The CCBC is the de-facto chamber of commerce between Canada and China, with over 40 years of history and 350 corporate members across both markets. Noah is responsible
for all China operations, strategic business advisory services relating to China & Canada, special events management, national P&L, and public relations. Previously, he was Director of the CCBC’s Ontario division, based in the Toronto headquarters. In the private sector, he most
recently acted as the Director of Marketing & Business Development at Rapid Aid Corp., the world’s leading designer and manufacturer of temperature-therapy medical devices. In close collaboration with the CEO, he oversaw all global marketing, sales & communications activities, and drove international strategy, with a focus on Greater China, the EU and the United States.

Noah resided in Nanjing, China for 3 years where he worked as a corporate language instructor and studied intensive Chinese. He holds an Honours Bachelor of Social Sciences in International Development & Globalization and minor in Business Administration from the University of Ottawa, partially completed at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, and a certificate in Mandarin Chinese from Nanjing Normal University. He has completed the Executive Sales Management program at the Ivey School of Business and a post-graduate certification in Managerial Finance from the London School of Economics. He is also an active volunteer, serving on the Beijing board of Educating Girls of Rural China (EGRC), the Advisory Board of the Canada China Forum, and as a mentor with the Carnegie-Tsinghua Center for Global Policy.

Margaret McCuaig-Johnston, Senior Fellow, Institute for Science, Society and Policy, University of Ottawa

Margaret McCuaig-Johnston is a Senior Fellow at the Institute for Science, Society and Policy at the University of Ottawa, as well as a Board member of the Canadian International Council (National Capital) and Advisory Board Member of the Canada China Forum.  Her research is focused on China’s innovation system and challenges that western technology firms have had working in China.  Margaret held senior positions in the Canadian public service for 37 years and served at the Assistant Deputy Minister level at Department of Finance, Natural Resources Canada and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council.  She also held management positions at Industry Canada, the Prime Minister’s National Advisory Board on S&T, the Ministry of State for S&T, and the Privy Council Office.  For the last seven years of her government career, Margaret was a member of the Canada-China Joint Committee on S&T.   She holds an MA in International Relations focused on China, and an Honours BA in Political Economy.  Margaret was a friend of China since her first extended visit in 1979, and she made major contributions over forty years to building China’s science and technology capacity, but since the detention of two Canadians in December 2018, she has been writing and speaking out regarding China’s arbitrary detentions and human rights infringements.

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China’s Latest Five-Year Plan: Insights for Western Canadian Trade has been organized by the Canada West Foundation, in partnership with the Canada China Business Council, China Institute at the University of Alberta, Canada and the Asia Pacific Policy Project at Thompson Rivers University, the Jack Austin Centre for Asia Pacific Business Studies at Simon Fraser University and World Trade Centre Winnipeg, with support from the Export Development Canada.