Thank you, Mr. Chair. And thanks, again, for the messages to our detainees. That will be very well received by them next week.
I hope I'm understanding correctly. I was asked to take this role before, and I didn't want to do it. I didn't feel it fitted my timing. After I was asked again, I felt there was a very significant need. I think what I've tried to bring to it is my experience, as I have relationships from having lived in that country that have been built over time with people. They know that I know what they're like. They know I will tell truth to power. I don't back off on that. They know my track record. And it's broad. It's not just business. It's in government, the social sector and universities. Probably my closest linkages are through the university system. What I've tried to do is to bring those relationships to bear, to the extent I can. There are other Canadians who also have very good relationships in China that we need to harness. That's from the academic side, the NGO side and from the business side. Our pension funds, for example, are very influential in where it is.
So, it was to try to assemble a team, if you will, and then have a plan. I think it's the total commitment. My objective is to restore the relationship, but within those three parameters. I have been very clear all the way through, and I'm focused. I talked with anyone I possibly could, mainly informally at first because it was difficult to have formal conversations. I would meet people and say, “Oh, I happened to see you in the restaurant”. That's interesting, that type of discussion, in then getting to a formal basis. Again, the team we have in Beijing is very good. They have those relationships, too.
That's what we've tried to do to build the channels to have the discussions.