The public scolding of Prime Minister Stephen Harper by China's premier has made headlines back home. But some in the Chinese-Canadian community say that Premier Wen Jaibao's comments are not as big a deal as the media is making it out to be.
New reports and political analysis followed the today's chastising, which saw Mr. Wen tell Mr. Harper that is has been "too long a time" since the leaders of the two country's last met.
"This is your first visit to China and this is the first meeting between the Chinese premier and a Canadian prime minister in almost five years," Mr. Wen said.
The exchange has prompted many questions about Canada's relationship with China, it's second largest trading partner. But Victor Wong, executive director of the Chinese Canadian National Council, says that too much focus is being placed on the rebuke.
"We're not looking at some of the achievements gained by this visit," said Mr. Wong.
He says that the two countries have made some important decisions, even early on in the Prime Minister's visit. He points out that earlier today, Mr. Harper and Mr. Wen announced that a new Chinese General Consulate will be opened in Montreal, something he says the city has been "begging for." Mr. Wong says that while English media is focusing on the scolding, the Chinese news sources are more concerned with the "what's real," like China lifting it's ban on Canada's pork products.
"It's boring to talk about pork exports," he said. "But that's a $50-million industry. That's a lot of money for farmers and agriculture."
Sean Hu, Executive Director of the Chinese Business Association of Canada agrees. He said that Mr. Harper could have avoided the scolding by visiting China earlier.
"It would [have been]good for Stephen Harper to visit Beijing for the Olympic Games," he said. "It was a big deal in Chinese culture."
Even so, Mr. Hu says that Mr. Wen's scolding isn't the main story coming out of China. Instead, it's how relations between the two counties will be strengthened by the meeting.
"I think both Canada and China have conducted themselves very well on this trip," he said.