D.卡尔顿 罗西
D. Carlton Rossi

Walk and Chew Gum

Canada’s troubles with China are only temporary, says former ambassador: ‘Chinese people and Canadian people are good friends'

Nathan VanderKlippe

July 29, 2020

Less than six months after he was fired as ambassador last year, Mr. McCallum became a senior strategic adviser for McMillan LLP, the law firm.

He first made a public appearances for Wailian last October and November, when he came to China to deliver remarks and pose for photographs. Over two weeks, he appeared at Wailian events in Qingdao, Beijing, Suzhou, Shanghai and Shenzhen. In each city, he spoke to a room with dozens – in some cases more than 100 – prospective clients for Wailian. The company paid for his attendance through an agreement with McMillan, according to the person familiar with the events.

Wailian promotional materials identify Mr. McCallum only as former ambassador and immigration minister, with no reference to McMillan.

Mr. McCallum in turn has called on his federal government connections.

Mr. Mendicino spoke with Mr. McCallum in mid-June, Kevin Lemkay, the minister’s spokesman, said in a statement. He “reached out to Mr. McCallum as a former colleague to discuss immigration and refugee issues,” Mr. Lemkay said, adding: “At no time did Mr. McCallum ever mention this company [Wailian] to the minister.”

Under Canadian law, Mr. McCallum is barred from lobbying the federal government for five years after leaving office. He said his conversation with the minister did not constitute lobbying. Mr. Mendicino “approaches me from time to time for general discussion as a friend and former minister,” Mr. McCallum said in response to questions from The Globe and Mail.


Wailian makes no reference to McMillan in promotional material and McCallum never mentions the company to the Minister. And the Minister reaches out to McCallum rather than the other way around. It looks like a circle, but is described by McCallum as a one-way "straight" line.

I'm reminded of the testimony of the Kielburgers. They are bathed in angelic white light which reflects in the background like they are surrounded by white auras--maybe halos. Craig Kielburger says he--or should one say WE--wanted to help the government rather than be helped. He says the government phoned him on that fateful day looking for help. Of course, if he had phoned the government for financial help then it would look like lobbying for which WE Charity was not registered.

"Under Canadian law, Mr. McCallum is barred from lobbying the federal government for five years after leaving office. He said his conversation with the minister did not constitute lobbying. Mr. Mendicino “approaches me from time to time for general discussion as a friend and former minister,” Mr. McCallum said in response to questions from The Globe and Mail."

In April, WE made a proposal to create a social entrepreneurship program to the Small Business Minister Mary Ng. If the author recalls correctly Craig Kielburger's said to the effect at his testimony that WE had had trouble for two years trying to integrate an entrepreneurship program [which would normally have been for profit] with a charity program [which was not for profit]. The author wondered if he had heard about the social entrepreneur Sun Dawu who is prominent on the author's website.

Perhaps Kielburger never will learn about Sun Dawu because the author's website is under illegal attack, impediments are piled on daily to prevent publishing, his browsers and VPN modified, his keyboard changed to a French template. Let's not forget that searches by the author for Sun Dawu's blog, his website or any mention of his name on the world-wide web by the author are exclusively restricted through targeting his unique identification address.

The following is but one example of targeting my search capabilities on anything related to Sun Dawu.


[Search domain www.haoz.net/lizhi/yulu/197252/]


Hmm. We’re having trouble finding that site.

We can’t connect to the server at www.haoz.net.

Ironically, hackers don't target my search for his image on the web. The hackers have though compensated for this omission by forbidding my website to publish any images whatsoever, for example, of Sun Dawu or Justin Trudeau.

However, getting back to the proposal on social entrepreneurship by WE to the Small Business Minister, the Ministry asked WE to revise its proposal to which WE complied. In defence of itself, WE said that "it was incorrect to conflate the testimony about the unsolicited April 9 proposal with its eventual partnership to deliver the CSSG; the earlier pitch, it says, was "distinct and clearly unrelated." In other words, lobbying is not an issue. The author does not contest this defence as the situation was extremely complicated and moving very quickly; as well, he has not seen copies of any proposals.

The author returned from an engagement in time to hear Trudeau's testimony. He was flabbergasted to listen to Trudeau's claim that he only heard of the WE proposal hours before it was made. Rather than recuse himself he made the excuse that he had pushed back at the proposal because it might be perceived he and his wife might have a conflict of interest. The operative phrase here is "might be perceived". He admitted no conflict, but only admitted it might appear to be that way by others--to paraphrase him. To the author this is but a reflection of his relativistic philosophy which means in effect that conflict of interest rules don't apply to him. By the way, his "pushing back" rather than being "pulled in" by the WE proposal didn't seem to mean any more due diligence of WE by either the public service or the cabinet.

For the author, the most intriguing part of the testimony were Trudeau's last words. "In fact, as of May 8, it was my belief that a supercharged version of the Canada Service Corps would deliver the program. From my perspective, WE Charity hadn't come up," Trudeau said. That word "supercharged" is usually applied to cars where a supercharger is added to deliver more oxygen to the engine. Since he doesn't explain the word "supercharged" it has many possibilities. However, in terms of probabilities it may refer to WE.

In effect, he wanted to supercharge the Canada Service Corps which he instituted in 2018 with the supercharger WE. In the May 8th WE proposal the terms "core program" and "cohort" are used many times. This seems to suggest a semantic relation to the word "Corps" in Canada Service Corps. Basically, what the author is suggesting is that Trudeau was not faced with a binary choice on May 8th by the public service between WE and nothing, but rather prior to May 8th, he faced the dilemma of how the Canada Service Corps could be partnered with WE. What this means is that a potential conflict of interest may have been perceived earlier.




                       John McCallum and Miss Liu in Chongqing

                        Walk and Chew Gum 

It seems that Ambassador McCallum has a predeliction to use the expression "Walking and chewing gum at the same time". This particular expression is used in a non-standard way. What exactly though are its connotations?

The idiom is a variation of "Can't walk and chew gum at the same time". This is an idiom or popular saying which is quite outdated. Generally speaking, it means someone of low intelligence who can't perform two simple tasks which do not require thinking at the same time.

Since idioms tend to be overused they lose their meaning over long periods of time. In that case one must resort to using a similar idiom to define them. For example, it might be one can't "pat one's head and rub one's tummy at the same time" or "juggle two balls at the same time".

However, the expression "Walk and chew gum at the same time" connotes a person of intelligence who can competently handle two tasks. It is difficult to understand why this expression is used rather than the more modern multitasking. The expression somewhat contradicts his "political" slogan of more, more, more which is said almost at the same time. He wants more trade, more in­vest­ment, more tourists, and more co-op­er­a­tion in many ar­eas. This implies multitasking. Does he wish to undertake two tasks at the same time or to multitask? Perhaps he wishes to walk and chew gum while promoting more trade, more investments, more tourists and more co-operation.

However, walking and chewing gum are not equal tasks. We have walked for millions of years when we first came out of the trees, but have chewed gum for far less time. Walking is critical for us and gets us to where we are going, but chewing gum, at best, might be considered to help reduce stress.

Ambassador McCallum has said that "one qualification for being a Canadian ambassador in China is knowing how to walk and chew gum at the same time, because a big part of the job is seeing the huge opportunity for Canada, but also not agreeing with China on everything — including human right issues — which are issues of great importance to our mission." However, if seeing the huge opportunity for Canada is equivalent to walking and the counterpart of human rights is chewing gum then it may be inferred that seeing the huge opportunity is more important than human rights. In other words, trade is viewed growing dynamically while human rights are seen statically preserved.

Notice something else. Seeing the huge opportunity is expressed positively while not agreeing with China on human rights issues is expressed negatively thus implying lesser importance. In other words, McCallum uses his deviation in a positive sense, but his derivation of the original version of the idiom in the negative sense. In addition, seeing is more important than not agreeing. In the past, politicians used to say "listen"; however, today they do not say "Listen." but rather "Look".

"As I say we can walk and chew gum at the same time," Ambassador McCallum said. "The United States relationship is by far and away the most important, and the prime minister is actively pursuing that along with his cabinet, but meanwhile over in China, I am pursuing Canadian interests and values". Of course, Prime Minister Trudeau is mainly involved in trade talks with the United States and there is no criticism of Trump's preference for the Second Amendment over the First Amendment, his disdain for judges, or his denigration of former President Obama who is a constitutional expert.

Doesn't this quote also mean that Trudeau is walking in North America and the ambassador is chewing gum in China? With respect to China the ambassador is walking in regard to interests sympathetic to concerns of the Chinese government and chewing gum with respect to values. He does not say "I am pursuing Canadian values and interests" thus putting values first and foremost. Professor Charles Burton has said that "he couldn't recall the former minister ever broaching the subject of human rights in the country.

There is another nuance though conveyed in the expression "Walking and chewing gum at the same time". Chewing gum is a consistent habit. It doesn't change nor does it improve, but rather it is maintained. While there can be a huge opportunity or improvement in trade; nevertheless, only occasional individual cases of human rights violations are addressed and not collective instances. This is a consistent and unchanging attitude despite the fact that individual and collective rights have rapidly deteriorated in China with arrests of lawyers beginning with 709. One never hears that Canada needs more, more, and more of human rights or qualitative issues, but rather more, more and more of quantitative issues.

As Defence Minister, McCallum said "So it's like walking and chewing gum at the same time, we're doing practical things to protect the lives of Canadians and Americans, which I think is the highest duty of government, while at the same time safeguarding our sovereignty. It is clear here that protection as the highest duty is more important than safeguarding. It is also implied that practical things are more important than what may be considered symbolic things. One might conclude with respect to China that a practical thing like trade is more important than a symbolic thing like sovereignty.

Ambassador McCallum had indicated that Canada may use the China-Australia Free-Trade Agreement as a template. However, this treaty treats Australia's sovereignty in a very different manner from China's sovereignty. Chinese territory is defined as:

"the entire customs territory of the People’s Republic of China, including land, airspace, internal waters, territorial sea, and areas beyond the territorial sea within which China exercises sovereign rights or jurisdiction in accordance with international law and its domestic law".

This general definition as opposed to Australia's more specific definition is a very, important distinction. Whose territory is the port of Darwin purchased by the Chinese? Whose territory will be the port of Churchill in Canada if the Chinese were to purchase it? The definition of territory reflects the general and specific definitions of territory in the China-Canada FIPA agreement where Canada's are spelled out specifically and China's generally. Is Canada going to make a similar mistake in its Free-Trade agreement? Will it sacrifice sovereignty for free-trade while limiting trade protection?

As Minister of Immigration, Citizenship and Refugees, John McCallum was asked an important question. “What do you say to Canadians who say to you (as you welcome 25,000+ Syrian refugees) what about our homeless people, our young people without jobs, our native population, our sick and our elderly? How do you keep that up”?

I say you can walk and chew gum at the same time. There are always going to be poor people in Canada. I think one of the greatest things on which we’re mandated to make progress is First Nations people, aboriginal people, indigenous people....

 “I think that is a good thing and I think when you think that this is the worst refugee crisis the world has known in decades. There are literally millions of people displaced. It is causing huge problems in the European Union which we hear about every day.

 “So I believe we are doing the absolute right thing in taking 25,000 people from the horrors of a civil war across the ocean and welcoming them here at home and most Canadians agree with that.

Note: The author has highlighted words of the text of several excerpts in order to deconstruct them.

It is a good thing to welcome Syrian refugees to Canada. It is admirable to come to the aid of First Nations, aboriginal and indigenous people. However, the author takes issue with expression of absolutes. By saying that there are "always going to be poor people in Canada implies that no change is ever possible. In other words, one can never walk and chew gum at the same time to solve the problem of poverty in Canada. "According to Raising the Roof, an organization that seeks long-term solutions to homelessness, over 235,000 Canadians experience homelessness each year."

With regard to the Syrian refugees McCallum begins by saying that it "is a good thing"; however, he then strengthens his argument by saying it is "the absolute right thing" to bring the refugees to Canada. One should also be aware or beware of how "think" becomes "believe" and an indefinite article becomes the definite article in a matter of seconds. Finally, there is another transition which seems a case of sophistry. The question asked of him which begins "What do you say" is transformed in the answer by McCallum to "I say you can". "I think that is a good thing" morphs in the same sentence to "I think when you think that this is the worse". You and you then magically transitions to "we".

Perhaps it would be helpful to look at the scientific evidence from a leading Canadian scientist regarding how we walk and chew gum at the same time. Philippe Kolta of the Université de Montréal says that simple rhythmic behaviour (such as walking or chewing) are executed automatically. However, Ambassador McCallum has said one qualification for being a Canadian ambassador in China is knowing how to walk and chew gum at the same time. Isn't the ability to breath, walk and chew gum at the same time better? Indeed, isn't it best if one can breathe, walk, talk and chew gum at the same time?

Finally, one may ask if the processes of walking and chewing gum at the same time are independent of each other. It appears the Honourable John McCallum believes they are. However, there is an argument made by Christopher Findlay regarding Australia's Free-Trade Area Strategy Policy that they are not entirely independent. He refers to Australia's trade strategy of pursuing FTA's and participating in the WTO. Findlay concludes the following: "The use of the preferential arrangements is a weak form of international commitment. Their use produces a series of agreements, perhaps in a hub and spoke formation, which are difficult to add together to make real free trade but which add to the costs of doing business. Furthermore, it can undermine higher level cooperation in the multilateral process."

Canada can manage relationships with China and U.S. at same time,
says John McCallum

New ambassador to China says Canada is pressing for consular access to Huseyin Celil By Catharine Tunney,

CBC News January 26, 2017


ARCHIVED - Speaking Notes for the Honourable John McCallum Minister of National Defence To the Toronto Board of Trade Minister's Speeches Archive/

October 25, 2002


Minister of Immigration: “no apology” to homeless Canadians for taking in 25,000 Syrian refugees

Posted by: Ilana Shneider

April 15, 2016


Université de Montréal, Canada Published June 3, 2014 Cite as eLife 2014;3:e03235
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.03235

The Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, 46:4, pp. 605–617 Walking and chewing gum at the same time: Australia’s free trade area strategy Christopher Findlay 1467-8489.00195.pdf