Briefing

Kirsten Hillman named permanent Canadian ambassador to U.S.

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The lawyer and longtime diplomat has been Ottawa’s interim representative in Washington, D.C. since August 2019, and was deputy ambassador for the previous two years. The Prime Minister’s Office said she helped negotiate new travel restrictions across the Canada-U.S. border amid the COVID-19 outbreak. (The Logic)

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Talking point: Hillman’s appointment isn’t simply about continuity during a time of economic and social upheaval. She was considered a strong contender for the permanent job, and predecessor David MacNaughton—now president for Canada of controversial U.S. data-mining firm Palantir—reportedly advanced her candidacy. Most recent ambassadors have come from Canada’s political ranks. MacNaughton, a close adviser to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, took a chair that had previously belonged to former premiers Gary Doer and Frank McKenna and ex-cabinet minister Michael Wilson. But both federal Liberals and Conservatives, as well as U.S. officials engaged in NAFTA talks, have praised Hillman’s trade-negotiation skills, crucial because of the Trump administration’s protectionist posture.