Stockwell Day is the government's hatchet man, currently tasked with cutting 5 per cent of the budget of 13 federal agencies. But he is also the minister responsible for the Asia-Pacific Gateway - and a marathon freak.
He will combine the last two passions in a trip to China, which starts with a tough marathon on the Great Wall, including its 5,164 steps on Saturday.
The trip was planned last year, when Mr. Day was minister of international trade. Given he kept responsibility for the trade route with Asian countries when he was shuffled over to Treasury Board this year, the trip stayed on his schedule.
"He will be running a marathon in China prior to the beginning of his official programme," spokeswoman Melisa Leclerc confirmed this week. "He will pay for all expenses related to this since this is related to his private programme."
Mr. Day missed the Boston Marathon last month because he was forced to attend confidence votes in Ottawa.
Here is the rest of the schedule for his upcoming trip, according to Ms. Leclerc:
"As Minister responsible for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, Minister Day will visit China and Japan from May 16 to May 21, 2010.
"While he'll talk about Canada's key competitive advantages, he will promote the Asia-Pacific Gateway as the most competitive route for international shipping to reach the heartland of North America.
"During his visit, Minister Day will also promote Canada's unique position to attract business with China and Japan, as well as underline Canada's strong financial standing on the international scene.
"Minister Day will also be the first Canadian minister to visit the Canada Pavilion at the Expo 2010 in Shanghai, China. He will also open the Vancouver Pavilion along with Premier [Gordon]Campbell. He'll also be there for the signature of an agreement.
"We will issue a media advisory on Friday about this visit. During the visit, I will send details to media following his meetings and events. We will also issue news releases with more details on his visit. The Minister will hold a call-back with Canadian media in Shanghai and Tokyo."
(Photo: Mr. Day, then-Canadian Alliance leader, jogs with an RCMP officer before a 2000 election campaign stop in Oakville, Ont. Kevin Frayer/The Canadian Press)