David Jacobson has spent the past four years based in Ottawa as the U.S. Ambassador to Canada. But that’s done now. According to media reports, Jacobson will be replaced by Chicago financial executive Bruce Heyman, assuming Heyman is confirmed.
The Ottawa Citizen’s Laura Armstrong reports Jacobson’s farewell speech before a guest list of close to 4,000 was heartfelt, even tearful. Calling Canada a kind nation with good people, Jacobson praised the two nations’ long-standing ties:
“While it’s for others to judge my contribution, I do leave confident that I did my best, that the relationship with the United States and Canada is strong, that the United States is lucky to have Canada as its neighbour. To all of you, Americans and Canadians alike, never waver in your commitment to this relationship.”
Speaking with CTV Ottawa’s Carol Anne Meehan, Jacobson called the annual 4th of July party a perfect way for he and his wife to say goodbye to the best four years of their lives.
“If the President ever asks if you want to be ambassador to Canada, say yes.”
Jacobson came to the job after a law career in Chicago. He blogs on being Ambassador to Canada here. This is from his May 30th entry:
Earlier this month, I traveled to the Royal Canadian Air Force base at Bagotville with Lt. General Yvan Blondin, and we got to spend 90 of the most thrilling minutes I have spent in a long time – like ever – flying in a CF-18 Hornet. More accurately I mostly rode in the second seat, though for a brief time I was controlling the plane!
This past April CBC reported President Obama will nominate Goldman Sachs executive Bruce Heyman to the post, subject to Senate confirmation.
Heyman has been a prominent fundraiser for Obama’s presidential campaigns, generating some criticism that – as usual – plumb embassies get handed out as rewards for political insiders. Speaking to the Toronto Star, former Canadian diplomat Paul Frazer had a more charitable take on the nomination:
“…a sophisticated individual heading to Ottawa from Chicago can be big plus. Chicago is other anchor on the Great Lakes — so much Canadian energy flows through or near the city, with so many Canadian companies active there, the level of awareness of trade relations is certain to be very good.
“His job in Ottawa will be to represent his own country’s interests. But starting out with a strong awareness of Canada is always promising.”
Outgoing Ambassador Jacobson told CTV he’ll be around for post-party clean up – and to host a party for staff who had to work on July 4 – before packing and heading back to the U.S. early next week.