Ottawa: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has tapped Bob Rae as Canada’s new ambassador to the United Nations.
The appointment announced Monday comes only weeks after Canada lost its bid for a temporary seat on the UN Security Council and adds to the growing list of roles and positions that the 71-year-old Rae has held under the Trudeau government.
It also leaves him following in his father’s footsteps. Saul Rae was Canada’s ambassador to the UN from 1972 to 1976,
“Bob Rae has dedicated his life to serving Canadians and our country, and his experience and thoughtful approach will serve us well in this new role as our ambassador to the United Nations,” Trudeau said in a statement.
Rae succeeds Marc-Andre Blanchard as ambassador following the Liberal government’s unsuccessful campaign to win a two-year Security Council seat, which saw Canada defeated on the first ballot last month by Norway and Ireland.
Blanchard, who took over as ambassador in April 2016, had notified Trudeau of his intention to leave the position earlier this year, according to the Prime Minister’s Office.
“After more than four years of service to our country and the global community, I thank Marc-Andre Blanchard as he leaves his post as Canada’s ambassador to the United Nations,” Trudeau said.
“His dedication played a vital role in advancing global co-operation, and helped Canada re-engage with partners to increase our place in the world and contribute to our efforts to help tackle the most important challenges of our time.”
Trudeau said Rae would follow Blanchard in pushing for more sustainable development and action on climate change while at the UN.
Rae was NDP premier of Ontario from 1990 to 1995 before eventually joining the federal Liberals. He ran for the party leadership in 2006, and later served as interim leader in 2010 following Michael Ignatieff’s resignation and prior to Trudeau’s taking over the party in 2013.
Rae most recently served under Trudeau as Canada’s special envoy for humanitarian and immigration issues and, before that, special envoy to Myanmar, during which time he advised the prime minister on the Rohingya crisis.
By Lee Berthiaume
The Canadian Press