posted on 7:58 AM, October 15, 2009
updated 2:58 PM, November 13, 2009

Thank you David Emerson.

   Following his speech at the gala dinner November 10th, I was asked to say a few words of thanks to David Emerson for spending some time with us.  I tried to do it within the context of a parable.

   My wife Ayako and I have a few acres on a lake north of Whistler.  Every year in the fall around this time, on the property at the lake, our attention is drawn to a physical manifestation of the concept of excellence.  For us it is one of the year’s highlights. Not just for something that is good, but for something that is great.

   It is the Matsutake  松茸 (pine mushroom), and as many in the Canada-Japan community know, the Japanese have a saying that captures this sense of the superlative, it is kaori matsutake, aji shimeji (香り松茸味しめじ).

   In the search for this excellence, timing is everything.  

   It’s easy to be in the right place, but if it’s not the right time, you’ll come up empty.

   Even if you are in the right place at the right time, unless you know what you’re looking for, you’ll walk right by it.

   Some of us have been walking in the B.C. woods for many years - in Tourism -  in Resources - but are just now beginning to explore new areas where there is *kaori matsutake* - the aroma of the pine mushroom which tells us that there is more here than meets the eye. 

   "I’m talking about Technology."

   "I’m talking about Aerospace."

It was in this way that I thanked David Emerson for his comprehensive presentation.

 -   For reminding us that we are in the right place and that now is the right time.
 -   For reminding us what it is that can be ours if we stoop down and pick it up, and
 -   For reminding us that there are other changes afoot in the woods as well:

         - That we should not just sell stuff, but engage in reciprocal direct investment,
         - That we should work to manage global value chains and networks,
         - That we should invest in physical and human capital footprints in strategic markets.

   "Thank you for reminding us to think strategically and to think boldly - if a bit differently - in our walk through these woods this fall."

         - Steve Archer, a Vice-President of the Society


Our Annual Fall Dinner is always a great social event, but if you have been following recent developments in Japan and Asia, you will find this year's event particularly interesting and relevant.

We are very pleased that David Emerson has agreed to be our honoured guest and featured speaker. You may recall that David was scheduled to speak at last year’s dinner, and was unable to attend owing to the federal election. David Emerson is well known to our membership, and has a very high profile here in British Columbia - as a senior civil servant, a senior executive in the private sector, and as a federal cabinet minister. Since leaving politics, he is re-immersed in a variety of activities involving Canada, Japan and Asia. Given his experience in both the private and public sectors, as well as in the political arena, David is uniquely qualified to speak to our members' interest in Japan and Asia. We can therefore look forward to thoughtful and relevant remarks.

About David Emerson: David Emerson attended the University of Alberta and obtained his bachelor's and master's degrees in economics. He then went on to Queen's University where he received his doctorate in economics. In 1975, Mr. Emerson joined the Government of British Columbia, becoming the province's Deputy Minister of Finance in 1984. In 1986, Mr. Emerson left government to become President and CEO of the Western and Pacific Bank of Canada. Four years later, he returned to the provincial government as Deputy Minister of Finance, then Deputy Minister to the Premier, and later President of B.C. Trade Development Corporation. In 1992, Mr. Emerson was appointed to lead the newly created Vancouver International Airport Authority. In 1998, he was appointed President and CEO of Canfor Corporation. First elected to the House of Commons in 2004, David was named Minister of Industry in July of that year. Re-elected in 2006, he was named Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Pacific Gateway and the Vancouver-Whistler Olympics, and in July 2008 was appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs. Since returning to the private sector in late 2008, David has joined the law firm of Farris, Vaughan, Wills & Murphy LLP as a Special Advisor, the private equity fund CAI Managers as a Special Advisor, and the British Columbia Transmission Corporation as Executive Chair. In addition, he sits on a number of corporate and advisory boards.
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