U.S. envoy to Canada in limbo as Obama weighs Keystone XL – Politics – CBC News

The fate of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, which has become a thorny issue in Canada-U.S. relations, could be holding up U.S. President Barack Obama’s decision for the next U.S. envoy to Canada.

Obama may be holding off on a nomination because he doesn’t want to have the U.S. Senate “hold that candidate hostage,” Colin Robertson, a former diplomat, now working as the vice-president of the Canadian Defence and Foreign Affairs Institute told CBC News.

While the nomination must be confirmed by the Senate, U.S. senators can place a hold on presidential nominations, a practice that can be used as a tactic to advance policy or political goals regardless of party lines.

Diplomat Richard Sanders will mend the gap and serve as the newest American representative to Canada until a new ambassador is confirmed, the U.S. Embassy in Ottawa announced last week.

Sanders, who arrived in Canada on July 22, will act as chargé d’affaires in the interim as a matter of due course, following the departure of outgoing U.S. ambassador David Jacobson, whose term ended on July 15.

According to Robertson, Jacobson’s own nomination was delayed when then Democrat Senator Chris Dodd put a hold on it because he was unhappy with another appointment.

In this case, it may very well be that Obama doesn’t want any U.S. senator to hold his next ambassador to Canada as leverage to force his hand on the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, Robertson said.

“This isn’t a slight against Canada, it’s U.S. politics.”

via U.S. envoy to Canada in limbo as Obama weighs Keystone XL – Politics – CBC News.


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