OTTAWA—The horse is a symbol of vitality, speed, prosperity, and progress, explained Employment Minister Jason Kenney at the Lunar New Year Celebration hosted by the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) Wednesday night at the Fairmont Château Laurier Hotel.
This celebration marks the beginning of the Year of the Horse, and the qualities this new year is to usher in bode well for relations between Canada and Taiwan (aka the Republic of China, or ROC), said Kenney.
That friendship was evident at the table Kenney shared with Chih-Kung Liu, the ROC (Taiwan) Representative to Canada. The two and others with them shared laughs and what looked like comfortable conversation.
Kenney was far from being the only official there, as somewhere in the range of 100 MPs and senators were in attendance. The high number of elected and senior officials pointed to the strong support Taiwan enjoys on Parliament Hill, Kenney noted.
Taiwan and Canada share values such as freedom, democracy, human rights, and the rule of law, he said.
The Year of the Horse already shows promising signs for Canada-Taiwan relations, including an agreement in January that Taiwan will allow bone-in beef and other specified cattle products to be imported from Canada.
Kenney thanked Liu and the Government of Taiwan for the decision to allow the “best beef in the world” to be sold in Taiwan. He said the Ministry of Agriculture is particularly excited about the decision.
There are also high hopes that an avoidance of double taxation agreement (ADTA) will soon be completed. The agreement would keep individuals and companies from paying taxes twice for the same declared income due to activities in both countries.
Liu also pointed to Canada’s support in the island nation’s effort to join one of the most important trade agreements in the world.
“In prospect of the future, I know we can continue to count on your support, not only in areas of our bilateral relations, but also in our bid to accede to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP),” Liu told the guests.
Guests were given a traditional Lunar New Year red envelope from Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou and a potted orchid. The orchids were cultivated by Taiwanese businessmen based in Toronto.
“The orchid has been traditionally an important part of Chinese culture and has been especially appreciated as a symbol of nobility, humility, and refinement,” Liu said.
The Toronto-based Ho Deng Music Ensemble, founded in 1996 by Jeannette Teng, performed during the event.