Joined: 02 Mar 2009
|Posted: Thu Oct 29, 2015 3:31 pm Post subject: Trudeau to appoint several new ambassadors in coming weeks
|( Gary Doer has confirmed he is leaving as US ambassador ,leaving a key position open , its also likely others will leave or forced out and be filled with more liberal friendly choices , I didn't even remember former tory mp Lawrence cannon being appointed ambassador to France ? )
Is Trudeau about to appoint Bob Rae the Canadian ambassador in Washington?
Lee Berthiaume, Postmedia News | October 29, 2015 10:11 AM ET
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Sean Kilpatrick / Canadian Press Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau, right, walks with Bob Rae following a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa..
Prime minister-designate Justin Trudeau is expected to appoint new ambassadors to a number of key diplomatic postings in the coming weeks and months, as he moves to distinguish his government’s foreign policy from a decade of Conservative relations with the world.
Former Manitoba premier Gary Doer confirmed this week that his term as Canadian ambassador to Washington is coming to an end after six years. That leaves Trudeau, who has promised a fresh start in relations with the United States after a diplomatic chill over the Keystone XL pipeline, with a big hole to fill.
New ambassadors in London, Paris and Tel Aviv are among those likely to follow: Each post is currently occupied by a political ally of outgoing Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
Career diplomats have traditionally filled most of these top posts, and the union representing Canada’s 1,500 professional foreign service officers is hoping Trudeau will return to that practice.
“The pattern does suggest there has been an increasing number of political appointments to ambassadorial positions,” said Timothy Hodges, president of the Professional Association of Foreign Service Officers. But he said career diplomats have much to offer. “Virtually every outgoing head of mission has decades of experience, and often much more in terms of honing their craft and developing their expertise.”
Still, Trudeau could follow Harper’s lead in appointing political heavyweights. Here are some of the key ambassadorial posts that Trudeau is expected to fill over the next months, and examples of the type of political appointee who might be tapped for the task if the Liberal government opts for such an approach.
The United States
Justin Tang / Canadian Press
Justin Tang / Canadian PressCanadian ambassador to the United States Gary Doer was unable to persuade the Obama administration to approve the Keystone XL pipeline..
Current ambassador: Former Manitoba premier Gary Doer
Date appointed: October 2009
The Canadian Embassy in Washington is by far this country’s most important diplomatic mission. Despite his political savvy, strong relationship with U.S. governors and NDP background, Doer was unable to persuade the Obama administration to approve the Keystone XL pipeline, or stop the pipeline argument from souring the bilateral relationship between the two countries’ leaders.
Whoever replaces Doer will be forced to walk a fine line as Trudeau has promised to improve relations with the White House while also supporting Keystone. The Liberals want to accomplish this by promising action on climate change.
Possible appointment: Trudeau will need someone of considerable political and diplomatic skill, such as former interim Liberal leader Bob Rae, to pull it off. Rae’s father, Saul Rae, was a renowned career diplomat.
Sean Kilpatrick / Canadian Press
Sean Kilpatrick / Canadian PressPrime Minister Stephen Harper is greeted by Gordon Campbell in London.
Current ambassador: Former B.C. premier Gordon Campbell
Date appointed: September 2011
Relations between Ottawa and London have grown in recent years thanks to a warm friendship between Harper and British Prime Minister David Cameron. The two Conservative leaders share a similar view of the world that translated into close co-operation on global security issues, trade and at the United Nations.
Possible appointment: It’s unlikely Trudeau will be able to replicate that close relationship with Cameron. However, appointing someone such as former Liberal cabinet minister John Manley, a pro-business Liberal who is also hawkish on security issues, could offset some potential differences between the two governments.
Sean Kilpatrick / Canadian Press
Sean Kilpatrick / Canadian PressLawrence Cannon was the Minister of Foreign Affairs for the Harper government. .
Current ambassador: Former Conservative minister Lawrence Cannon
Date appointed: May 2012
Canada and France have worked closely to promote free trade as well as fighting terrorism and the Islamic State, but the two have been at loggerheads on the climate change file. French President François Hollande has said he hopes that will change at this year’s crucial UN climate talks in Paris.
Before Cannon, the last non-professional diplomat appointed to Paris was Lucien Bouchard in 1985.
Possible appointment: Former Quebec premier Jean Charest would be an obvious choice as ambassador given his role in the Canada-EU free trade talks, his calls for action on climate change, and the fact he has family in France. (It would also keep him out of any Conservative leadership race, though he has already indicated he is not running.)
Handout / Foreign Affairs, Government of Canada
Handout / Foreign Affairs, Government of CanadaFormer Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird with Vivian Bercovici after she was made Canada’s new ambassador to the State of Israel. .
Current ambassador: Toronto lawyer Vivian Bercovici
Date appointed: January 2014
Bercovici was the first non-diplomat appointed to represent Canada in Tel Aviv since Brian Mulroney’s chief of staff, Norman Spector, and former Liberal MP David Berger held the post at different times in the 1990s. Her appointment was criticized by some who felt she was too pro-Israel.
Possible appointment: The Israeli-Palestinian file is particularly tricky and some Jewish commentators are worried about how Trudeau will approach it. Appointing someone such as former Liberal minister Irwin Cotler, whose human rights credentials are globally respected, would send a strong signal about the enduring relationship between the two countries.
Roberto Rocha / Postmedia Network
Roberto Rocha / Postmedia NetworkGuillermo Rishchynski, left, next to Michelle Jean and Harley Henriques in Brazil, July 7, 2007..
Current ambassador: Career diplomat Guillermo Rishchynski
Date appointed: August 2011
Trudeau has promised renewed leadership at the UN after the Conservatives spent the past decade largely ignoring the world body. Canada’s ambassador to the UN has typically been a career diplomat, but appointing an eminent Canadian, as Mulroney did with Stephen Lewis in the 1980s, would also signal serious intent.