Liberals Replace Tory Political Appointments in Major Diplomatic Shuffle

By Blanchfield, Mike | The Canadian Press, July 19, 2016 | Go to article overview

Liberals Replace Tory Political Appointments in Major Diplomatic Shuffle


Blanchfield, Mike, The Canadian Press


Liberals sweep top diplomatic ranks

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OTTAWA - The Liberal government's new ambassador to Japan was lauded Tuesday by a former Conservative trade official as a good choice for helping Canadian exporters crack the world's third largest economy.

Ian Burney was Canada's chief negotiator on its free trade agreement with South Korea, a deal which viewed as a breakthrough in Asia.

The bilateral Canada-Japan free trade process is all but dead as Japan has turned its attention to the 12-country Pacific Rim pact known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership. But with the ratification of the TPP in doubt -- both U.S. presidential candidates are against it, and Canada is holding consultations well into the fall -- revitalizing a deal with Japan is now more crucial, said Adam Taylor, a senior aide to former Conservative trade minister Ed Fast.

"If there's anybody who's shown they have the skill, patience and temperament and the familiarity with the issues to take a deal that looks like it's in the ditch and bring it back on track, it would be Ian Burney," Taylor said.

"I'm a Tory, but if this is a sign where the trade folks will go in the new government, that's actually good for Canada."

Burney has a distinguished diplomatic pedigree: his father, Derek, served as Canada's ambassador to the U.S. under Brian Mulroney and was the head of Stephen Harper's transition team when it won power in 2006.

Burney's appointment was one of 26 Tuesday -- 13 men, 13 women -- that saw the Trudeau Liberals replacing several high-profile political appointments made by the previous Conservative government in a major shuffle of the top ranks of Canada's foreign service.

Almost all are career public servants, with three of them replacing Harper government appointees in the United Kingdom, Iraq and Israel.

In the United Kingdom, former British Columbia premier Gordon Campbell is being replaced by the former clerk of the privy council, Janice Charette. Campbell's term was set expire last summer but he was given a one-year extension.

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

In 2013, former prime minister Stephen Harper appointed the former head of his RCMP security detail, Bruno Saccomani, as the ambassador to Jordan, which includes Iraq, and where Canada has no embassy. …

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