Politics

Ottawa announces diplomatic shakeup with 26 new appointments

Foreign Affairs Minister Stéphane Dion has announced the appointment of two dozen new ambassadors and high commissioners as part of the government's move to reshape the diplomatic ranks.

Foreign Affairs Minister Stéphane Dion removes high-profile Harper-era appointees

Canada's Foreign Affairs Minister Stéphane Dion has announced the appointment of 26 new ambassadors, clearing out a number of Harper-era appointees. (Chris Wattie/Reuters)

Foreign Affairs Minister Stéphane Dion announced Tuesday the appointment of more than two dozen new ambassadors as part of the government's latest effort to reshape the diplomatic ranks.

"These appointments reflect the government of Canada's commitment to ensure its diplomatic leaders represent a wide diversity of Canadians and include a greater gender representation," Dion said in a statement.

Thirteen of the 26 ambassadors appointed in this round are women.

This move whittles down the number of Harper-era appointments still serving abroad, although several high-profile diplomats will remain in their positions, including Lawrence Cannon, a former Conservative cabinet minister and the current ambassador to France.

Kevin Vickers, Canada's man in Dublin, will also keep his posting only months after making international headlines for tackling an Irish republican at a memorial event for British soldiers killed during the Easter Rising.

Janice Charette, former clerk of the Privy Council, has been named Canada's high commissioner to the United Kingdom.

Janice Charette, the former top bureaucrat in Ottawa who was abruptly replaced this year as clerk of the Privy Council, takes over for Gordon Campbell in London as the high commissioner to the United Kingdom as that country still reels from the Brexit vote.

In the Middle East, Dion is replacing the heads of two missions whose appointments were met with criticism for being too partisan.

Canada's ambassador in Afghanistan, Deborah Lyons, will become the country's representative in Israel, replacing the controversial Vivian Bercovici, a former policy adviser who served in the same Ontario Progressive Conservative government as then Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird. The lawyer, and former CBC/Radio-Canada board member, was a frequent critic of Palestinian leadership in the Middle East affairs column she penned for the Toronto Star before her diplomatic posting.

Bruno Saccomani, the former head of Stephen Harper's RCMP security detail, is out as ambassador to Jordan and will be replaced by Peter MacDougall, a senior bureaucrat at the Privy Council Office where he worked as assistant secretary to the cabinet on foreign and defence policy.

Foreign Affairs Minister Stéphane Dion announced the appointment of 26 new ambassadors 0:45

Saccomani's initial appointment caused a stir in Ottawa when the opposition parties branded the former police officer as unqualified to serve in such a sensitive region.

And while most of the new ambassadors are career diplomats, the Liberal government's picks are not entirely free of party politics.

Film industry executive Phyllis Yaffe has been named consul general in New York, supplanting former Bay Street banker John Prato. According to contribution records from Elections Canada, Yaffe donated $4,534 to the Liberals, and former interim leader Bob Rae, between 2006 and 2011.

Patrick Parisot, a man with a long history in Liberal party circles, will be Canada's new envoy in Cuba. Parisot worked as a communications staffer in former prime minister Jean Chrétien's office, before entering the foreign service with postings in Chile, Portugal and Algeria. Later, he left the public service to work as a senior adviser in then-Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff's office.

Here is the full list of diplomatic appointments:

  • Janice Charette becomes high commissioner to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, replacing Gordon Campbell.
  • Phyllis Yaffe becomes consul general in New York (United States of America), replacing John (Giovanni) Prato.
  • Deborah Lyons becomes ambassador to the State of Israel, replacing Vivian Bercovici.
  • Donald Bobiash becomes ambassador to the Republic of Colombia, replacing Carmen Sylvain.
  • Ian Burney becomes ambassador to Japan, replacing Mackenzie Clugston.
  • Perry Calderwood becomes high commissioner to the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, replacing Heather Cruden.
  • Heather Cameron becomes high commissioner to the Republic of Ghana, replacing Christopher Thornley.
  • Antoine Chevrier becomes high commissioner to the Republic of Mozambique, replacing Shawn Barber.
  • Chris Cooter becomes ambassador to the Republic of Turkey, replacing John Holmes.
  • Jennifer Daubeny becomes consul general in Bangalore (Republic of India), replacing Sidney Frank.
  • Lise Filiatrault becomes ambassador to the Republic of Senegal, replacing Philippe Beaulne.
  • Emi Furuya becomes ambassador to the Kingdom of Denmark, replacing André-François Giroux.
  • Carla Hogan Rufelds becomes high commissioner to the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, replacing Gérard Latulippe.
  • Masud Husain becomes ambassador to the United Arab Emirates, replacing Arif Lalani.
  • Ping Kitnikone becomes ambassador to the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, replacing David Devine.
  • Marie Legault becomes high commissioner to Barbados, replacing Richard Hanley.
  • Matthew Levin becomes ambassador to the Kingdom of Spain, replacing Jon Allen.
  • Peter MacDougall becomes ambassador to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, replacing Bruno Saccomani.
  • Ian Myles becomes high commissioner to the United Republic of Tanzania, replacing Alexandre Lévêque.
  • Jeff Nankivell becomes consul general in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (People's Republic of China), replacing Ian (James) Burchett.
  • Olivier Nicoloff becomes ambassador to the Kingdom of Belgium, replacing Denis Robert.
  • Patrick Parisot becomes ambassador to the Republic of Cuba, replacing Yves Gagnon.
  • Donica Pottie becomes ambassador to the Kingdom of Thailand, replacing Philip Calvert.
  • Isabelle Poupart becomes ambassador to Hungary, replacing Lisa Helfand.
  • Barbara Richardson becomes ambassador to the Czech Republic, replacing Otto Jelinek.
  • Ulric Shannon becomes consul general in Istanbul (Republic of Turkey), replacing Andrew Smith.

Follow John Paul Tasker on Twitter @JPTasker

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