A weekly outreach to our friends and colleagues in Canada
Ambassador Wilkins enjoyed two productive days in sunny Ottawa this week. In between important business meetings, he found time to reconnect with old friends, visit with U.S. embassy colleagues, and talk a little U.S-Canada trade, travel and security.
Good Politics, Bad Policy
In a story that ran in yesterday's Toronto Star, Wilkins had a lot to say to our good friend Susan Delacourt regarding the threat of U.S. protectionism:
"I just think it's bad policy," Wilkins said yesterday during a visit to Ottawa, where he spent three years as the top U.S. representative in Canada. "It's unfortunate that this protectionist trend is continuing."
Wilkins applauds International Trade Minister Stockwell Day for trying in recent days to get a waiver for Canada from the "Buy American" provisions passed by the U.S. Congress as part of federal stimulus legislation south of the border. Wilkins isn't sure the effort will be successful, but "I think it's exactly right to ask."
More than eight months since Wilkins stepped down from his ambassador's post and returned to his home in South Carolina, the U.S. still doesn't have an ambassador in Canada.
David Jacobson, a Chicago lawyer and close ally of U.S. President Barack Obama, has been named to the job and has cleared Senate hearings, but he still hasn't been confirmed and probably won't arrive in Canada until next month.
Wilkins recently dined with Jacobson, and he reports that the new ambassador is excited about coming to Canada and keen to get to know the country.
Asked whether Jacobson should have been in place earlier and whether that would have made a difference in the "Buy American" controversy, Wilkins, a Republican, skated around the question, saying it's doubtful that any ambassador could have stopped the Democrat-controlled Congress from passing those protectionist provisions.
So long, Susan
Team Wilkins was honored to attend a star-studded event in honor of CBC-TV correspondent-extraordinaire and softball queen, as well as another one of our good friends (yes, we have many of them and we're shameless name-droppers) Susan Bonner.
It speaks volumes about the smart and talented Susan (who is headed to CBC's Washington DC bureau) that she can bring out an A-list Ottawa crowd even in perfect "cottage" weather.
The big-name send off was organized by the National Post's Don Martin at Metropolitan and attracted such luminaries as the CBC's Chris Hall, the Toronto Star's Tonda MacCharles and Susan Delacourt, the Sun's Greg Weston, Liberal Party guru Leslie Swartman and National Director Rocco Rossi, Federal Transport Minister John Baird as well as the Government House Leader's prettier half, Leah Murray.
We wish Susan and her family good luck and Godspeed in Washington. Ottawa's loss is our gain because with our strategically placed Nelson Mullins office right there at 101 Constitution Avenue, we'll get to see her a whole lot more!
Speaking of the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities - John Baird is everywhere!
We were fortunate to discover there's not a place in Ottawa we could go John Baird didn't know -so we ran into one of our favorite Ministers frequently these past couple of days. This gave us a chance to chat with the Minister about the all-important U.S-Canada file.
Alas, Baird wouldn't bite on when he's predicting the next federal election...
The World Before WHTI
It was a real treat for Ambassador Wilkins to spend some time this week with Canadian author Mark Jodoin who recently released his book Shadow Soldiers of the American Revolution: Loyalist Tales from New York to Canada.
Ambassador Wilkins was proud to write the foreword for this fascinating book, which examines the lives of 10 young men and women who had a dramatic impact on the shared histories of both the U.S. and Canada.
The War of the Roses
So strip away the fancy suits and the impressive titles and important jobs. When you get right down to it, just two words bring these two big-shots to their collective knees in the garden each weekend: "Susan says."
Yup. For our own David Wilkins and Canadian Council of Chief Executive's Tom d'Aquino who both married a lovely and talented "Susan," the hard-charging weekday businessmen become mere weekend field hands as their Susans supervise them in the plantings of their majestic backyard gardens.
Wilkins had the opportunity to tour the d'Aquinos' beautiful garden at their Ottawa home this week, and he was indeed impressed with Susan's impeccable vision for beauty and the fruits of Tom's hard labor.
This left him with a mighty dilemma on the plane ride south: whether to tell his Susan about the gorgeous garden to the north. Wilkins was hoping his boss would give him some time off this weekend.
If you are interested in the possibility of having Ambassador Wilkins speak at an event, please contact Christy Cox at Christy.Cox@nelsonmullins.com or call 803.255.9470.
The articles published in this newsletter are intended only to provide general information on the subjects covered. The contents should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Readers should consult with legal counsel to obtain specific legal advice based on particular situations.