While the Liberals tried to block the creation of the committee, they were reminded of their weakened hand under minority governance when the NDP and Bloc joined with the Conservatives to see the motion pass. The committee held its first meeting on Monday, where they agreed to call Dominic Barton, our Ambassador to China, as one of their first witnesses.

This committee shouldn’t be treated as a mere partisan exercise, an attempt to shame the Liberals for their screw-ups on this file. It’s much bigger than that.

In many respects, getting our relationship right with China – a country that wants our natural resources, that wants to buy up our sensitive companies, that wants to bring us even more under its wing – is an existential issue for Canada. (To further understand just how dire the situation is pick up a copy of Canadian foreign correspondent Jonathan Manthorpe’s important new book Claws of The Panda.)