President Barack Obama is injecting a bit of life into Ottawa’s stuffy diplomatic circuit, naming Chicago lawyer, socialite and political fundraiser David Jacobson as the American ambassador to Canada.
Mr. Jacobson made his mark in Chicago during the dot-com boom of 2000, staging high-end monthly mixers for the city’s technology workers called “First Tuesday” parties. At the time, he was known to shun suits and ties in favour of black T-shirts.
The lawyer works in the White House’s Office of Presidential Personnel, but his name has circulated for weeks in Washington in connection with the Ottawa job. Yesterday, the White House confirmed the nomination, which must be approved by the Senate.
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The fact that Mr. Jacobson comes from the President’s political circle in Illinois, where Mr. Obama was a state senator and was later elected a U.S. senator, is good news for Canada, according to Peter Harder, a former Canadian deputy minister of foreign affairs.
“He appears to me to be an ideal ambassador for Canada,” Mr. Harder said. “You can’t say that President Obama has had a lot of Washington experience, so he will rely, in terms of his political network, on his Chicago network. And to have somebody from that network will be a boon for us.”