New appointments nothing more than old Liberal patronage: Opposition

Both David MacNaughton and Marc-Andre Blanchard have close ties to the Prime Minister.
Both David MacNaughton and Marc-Andre Blanchard have close ties to the Prime Minister.

OTTAWA – The opposition parties have labelled two high-profile diplomatic appointments as nothing more than Liberal patronage.

The Conservatives and New Democrats say the new ambassadors to the United States and United Nations worked for Prime Minister Trudeau as he came to power.

Incoming U.S. ambassador David MacNaughton was the former co-chair of the Liberal election campaign in Ontario and new U.N. ambassador lawyer Marc-Andre Blanchard also has close ties to Trudeau.

“The appointment of a Liberal lobbyist as Canada’s Ambassador to the United States is a troubling development that demonstrates the old Chretien/Martin rule of ‘who do you know in the PMO’ seems to be back,” Conservative MP Peter Kent said in a release.

READ MORE:  New ambassador to US announced amid shifting perception

“David McNaughton was Trudeau Chief of Staff Katie Telford’s boss in Dalton McGuinty’s office and at a major lobbying firm in Toronto. He was also a key player in the Liberal election campaign, ” Peter Kent stated. “Reward? Ambassador to Washington. That shouldn’t be the criteria for such a senior appointment.”

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The two new diplomats will play a major role in advancing Trudeau’s foreign policy priorities, handling the key relationship with the U.S. and revitalizing Canada’s contribution to the world’s multilateral forums.

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Blanchard says being asked to lead Canada’s mission in the U.N. is a huge honour.

But NDP MP Helene Laverdiere says Trudeau promised change, but appointing his close supporters is what she calls “the same old Liberal party.”

The appointments come shortly before Trudeau is due to attend the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos in the coming week.