WASHINGTON – David Cohen has been sworn in as the new US ambassador to Canada – the first full-time US special envoy since 2019.
Vice President Kamala Harris presided over the process in her ceremonial office earlier today.
Cohen, an attorney, lobbyist and fundraiser who served as a senior adviser and chief diversity officer at US media giant Comcast, was nominated by President Joe Biden in July.
He is the first person to be appointed to this role on a full-time basis since Donald Trump’s selection, Kelly Craft, stepped down in August 2019 to serve as ambassador to the United Nations.
Despite his business background, Cohen is no stranger to politics: in addition to serving as Comcast’s chief lobbyist, he spent five years as chief of staff for Philadelphia mayor Ed Rendell in the 1990s. .
He also hosted the first fundraising event of Biden’s successful 2020 presidential campaign.
“Congratulations,” the vice president told the group, which included a fully masked Cohen, his wife Rhonda, father Arthur and sister Nancy. “And then it started!”
Harris’s office said Cohen chose to take the oath in front of a Hebrew Bible and a copy of the US Constitution.
Goldy Hyder, president and CEO of the Canadian Business Council, said Cohen’s appointment – which has managed to pass what can normally be a Senate confirmation process – could not come in. a more appropriate time.
Tensions between the United States and Canada, while far from what they were during Trump’s time in office, are still high, including some aspects of the US-Mexico-Canada New Agreement, or USMCA, known in Canadian circles as the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement. CUSMA.
“Ambassador Cohen’s term begins at a very important time for our two nations,” Hyder said in a statement. “There is still much work to be done together, including the successful rollout of CUSMA, more cooperation at our borders, and more cooperation on the world stage.”
Scotty Greenwood, CEO of the Canadian American Business Council, said Cohen possesses “an exceptional combination of political sensibility, business acumen and intellectual strength.”
“We look forward to working with him as he assumes one of the most important positions in the Biden administration.”
Cohen’s upcoming trip to Ottawa follows Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s two-day visit to Washington earlier this month, a lobbying effort dominated by concerns about Biden’s plans to provide financial aid. Attractive tax credit for US-made electric vehicles.
Canadian industry experts say if passed by Congress, the incentives – worth up to $12,500 to new car buyers if the car is made on US soil with union labor – would wreak havoc on the industry. cars north of the border.
During his confirmation hearing in September, Cohen sang praises of the Canada-U.S. relationship. But he also thinks the Biden administration is growing impatient with Ottawa’s longstanding policy toward China.
Canada has yet to say whether it will block equipment made by telecom giant Huawei from being used in its ever-expanding 5G network. All four of Five Eyes’ intelligence partners, including the US, UK, New Zealand and Australia, have done so, considering the company a national security threat.
This Canadian Press report was first published on November 30, 2021.