Stockwell Dai goes to China

Mark MacKinnon,


April 10, 2009

Beijing -- Trade Minister Stockwell Day, one of the most outspoken China critics in the Conservative government, is landing in China today at the start of an eight-day trip that both countries hope will be help defrost relations between Beijing and Ottawa (I wrote about how we got here in a previous post.)

So how are ordinary Chinese responding to this visit by the former leader of the Canadian Reform Conservative Alliance, the devout Evangelical Christian who has long been a critic of Beijing and its restrictions on "freedom of speech, religion and freedom of enterprise" as he put it back in 2000?

Here's a quick sampling of the anonymous talk-backs on the Chinese Internet, as compiled by Yu Mei, the superb news assistant here in the Beijing bureau of The Globe and Mail:

(The first batch are taken from the comments section on The Global Times article headlined "High-ranking Canadian official said Harper hopes to visit China soon in order to repair the relation with China.")

* Canada's Prime Minister is a speculator. When he needs China, he comes. When he doesn't need China, he speaks irresponsible words. I don't want to see his coming visit China.

* (How about) you don't come, but it will be fine to have Lai Changxing come back. (Mr. Lai is China's most wanted man, accused by Beijing of heading a $10-billion smuggling empire before fleeing to Canada in 1999)

* China is also suffering in the economic crisis. You can't just remember China when Nortel collapses.

* (Day) is definitely coming to China for mendicant purposes. He needs China's money and turns friendly to China. When the crisis passes, he will jump out to make troubles for China.

* Canadians are very unsatisfied . . . yeah, very unsatisfied, but Harper is still working for another term.

* The (Beijing) Olympics are over. There is no reason for you to visit China! The financial crisis makes you remember China? There is no way to fool China.

* Sarkozy the Second, haha! (A reference to the French President's own stormy relationship with Beijing

* The most positive impression of Canada to us now is "Da Shan"! Except him, it seems we know nothing. It means you are not important to us! (Da Shan is Mark Rowswell, an Ottawa-born entertainer who is a phenomenon in China.)

* I feel the Western countries recently are (acting) weird! In the past, they always said something negative of China, but recently they seemed turn to very friendly to us. Every Western country comes to show friendship to China. Maybe they all come for China's money? Are they taking China as a "savior of market?" They will be happy to empty China's pockets.

Here are a few more the popular web portal:

* We are also very busy and not convenient to welcome you (written by a "netizen" in Changchun, Jilin province)

* If he comes, let's see which brave man toss him a shabby shoe? (from Hangzhou, in Zhejiang province)

* Cooperation and communication between two countries is better separated from their leaders. We can't have bias against a country only because of a problem with its leader. Since Canada decided to improve the relation with China, why can't we receive this country with a tolerant heart? (A commentator who gave their name as "Aorui3")

* For a long time, Chinese people have a deep feeling to Canadians. (Norman) Bethune, the great internationalist fighter had paid a lot of contribution to the friendship of China and Canada. In the beginning of China's reform and opening up, Canadian government had also given China a lot of support. It is just recently Canadian government changed their policy to China, which made obstacles for the two countries' communication. We both should have cherished our friendships and reach a win-win result. (netizen in Haikou, Hainan province)

My favourite part is that someone bothered to give Stockwell Day a Chinese name, likely without consulting our intrepid Trade Minister. When you see him next on the streets of Ottawa, Red Deer or Okanagan, feel free to address him as "Dai Guowei," as he's known on the Chinese Internet.

What does it mean?

Well, "Dai" is a common Chinese surname, chosen likely because it sounds like "Day."

Meanwhile, Guo means "country" while "wei," in this case, means to protect or to guard against something.

To the English-speaking ear, they also sound a lot like Day Go Away. Not that we should read anything into that. Right?


Dai the Red Neck on a Diplomatic mission to China? Ha Ha Ha funny and peculiar.

The Chinese government will probably give him a demo of their latest model Jet Ski's , an invitation to a public execution of criminals followed by a dinner of nothing less than roast duck.

Day, has always had an incredible ability to shoot his mouth of and make a complete fool of himself.

Mr. Harper has probably already appointed one or more official minders to kick him if he goes to speak with out approval of the remote command post in the PM's office watching on a live video feed and typing in what to say on a palm size text prompter.

Mr. Day, has trouble resisting the urge to comment on matters of law, and justice of which he fails to understand some very basic concepts and logical reasoning.

It will be Mr. Day's illogical reasoning that will lead him to make one or more classic boo-boos that will make for a lot of laughter over beers and cheers at the next Liberal Party BBQ.

If Mr. Day could choose the least appropriate subject, he could give the Chinese a lecture on how they should follow Canada's corrupt institution called Family Court.

Now lets sit back and enjoy Mr. Day's next sanfu.