It was quite obvious that Bush's choice of Cellucci as an appropriate
person to be sent to my country was a case of very bad judgement. Of course, when it comes to Bush's batting record of choosing appropriate people for any position, it came as no surprise. But, has Bush now learned his lesson when it comes to selecting a US ambassador who would actually be a good fit for both countries? As is his pattern for repeating the same mistake over and over, the answer to this question is a resounding "no". Ill say this though - we're grateful the new ambassador to Canada isn't John Bolton!
Let's take a look at David Wilkins.
Here's a quiz:
- How far is South Carolina from the Canadian border?
- How much would it cost to take a little trip to Canada if you were interested in being an ambassador to the country?
- How much time might that little trip take?
- Wouldn't you be just a bit embarassed if the public found out you lived in South Carolina, had the money and at least a free weekend to take that little trip to Canada since you wanted to be the ambassador - but didn't?
- If you studied the French language for three years in college, shouldn't you be able to speak it? At least a little?
According to the CBC
Canada will be new territory for Wilkins. His first and only trip there was in the 1970s when he was in the army Reserve. Wilkins also doesn't speak French, although he did take three years of the language in college.
Well, that's encouraging now, isn't it?
And, how does Wilkins intend to learn more about Canada?
He is preparing for his job by "reading a lot of materials and getting briefed by a lot of smart people in the State Department."
Okay. Reading is good. At least he won't have to get Condi to read stuff to him. (Who are these "smart people in the State Department"? If they're so darn smart, why can't they fix things in Iraq? Is John Bolton considered to be one of those "smart people"? But, I digress...)
Fear not, Canadians!
Wilkins went through screening Wednesday as Senator Norm Coleman (R-Minn.), chairman of a subcommittee that handles ambassador appointments, quizzed him on trade, border access and other security issues before pledging to push his nomination through.
Apparently, he passed that quiz with flying colours and we can all rest comfortably knowing that Norm Coleman likes him. (queue Psycho shower scene music)
----> And, by the way, America's relationship with Canada is so important that Coleman was actually the only member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to even show up to ask him questions. The process lasted less than 7 minutes. Less than 7 minutes. If that doesn't say something about what the Bush administration and the SFRC thinks about Canada, I don't know what does.<----
Unlike Bolton, Wilkins actually had a good time watching the senate confirmation debate on C-SPAN 2:
"It was a great thing," Wilkins said shortly after the 8:50 p.m. vote. "It was kind of fun to hear them say my name."
Let's hope he has a lot of fun in Canada when he hears his name bandied about as he tries to further Bush's foreign relations (non) agenda while he's here. Yes...that should be fun..for Canadians, at least.
Wilkins is being pegged by his supporters in the senate as a moderate. Is he a moderate? Enquiring Canadian minds want to know.
Here are Wilkins' qualifications for the job:
While Mr. Wilkins lacks specific expertise on Canada, supporters said his strength is a strong personal relationship with Mr. Bush. The South Carolina lawmaker was instrumental in helping Mr. Bush secure his state's backing in the 2000 Republican primaries.
I'm so relieved. He is obviously eminently qualified to shoot off his mouth in my country for the next 4 years.
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