West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky Country MP John Weston brought a Chinese delegation to Whistler last weekend on the 40 th anniversary of Canada's diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of China.
The delegation included three prominent members of the National People's Congress who brought their "curiosity and insights" to meetings in Squamish and Whistler.
Members of the delegation included Zheng Silin, former Minister of Labour for China and now chair of the Canadian-Chinese Legislative Association. Also present were Liberal Senator Joseph Day, Conservative MP Daryl Kramp and Bloc Quebecois MP Luc Malo, who are members of the association.
They gathered to discuss issues such as tourism, trade, business opportunities and foreign students in Squamish and Whistler, according to a news release.
"This is part of the continuing exchanges between Canada and China at the legislative level," Weston said in an interview after a Saturday roundtable at the Whistler Public Library.
"I was asked, would I like to coordinate and host a Chinese delegation in the corridor. I said that's exactly what I would like to have, but we never imagined we would have such influential guests when we brought them."
The delegation included a visit to Quest University as well as a tour of Olympic venues and meetings with tourism and business stakeholders in Whistler.
A roundtable at Quest University included dialogue with Squamish Mayor Greg Gardner; Councillor Paul Lalli; Capilano University President Kris Bulcroft; and North Shore Outdoor School Vice-Principal Kate Koegh.
The roundtable at the Whistler Public Library on Saturday night included Whistler Councillor Chris Quinlan; Tourism Whistler President and CEO Barrett Fisher; Whistler 2010 Sport Legacies VP Diane Mombourquette; and Whistler Film Festival Founder Shauna Hardy Mishaw.
At one point during the Whistler roundtable, Kramp, the MP for the Ontario riding of Prince Edward-Hastings, expressed concern that there was an 80 per cent increase in applications from China to visit Canada after receiving Approved Destination Status (ADS), but that there's only a 10 to 20 per cent success rate for visitor visas.
Fisher said it was premature to speculate on the success of visa applications now that ADS has been approved, but prior to the designation Chinese visits were largely comprised of "visiting friends and relatives" segments.
She went on to say Tourism Whistler would be happy to work with the federal government and China to improve the visa application process.