Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Embassy Row

Frank McKenna has just resigned as ambassador to the United States, leaving him free to be called upon for the not-entirely-inevitable coronation as Liberal leader.

The hope is that as someone untainted by the Chretien-Martin civil war and the Adscam corruption that rotted the party in Quebec, he might be able to put a good face on the Liberals in time for the next election, with the help of some inevitable Tory screwups along the way.

The fear is that he might be like John Turner: his prime years spent on Bay Street, a decade out of elected office, and his best days behind him when everyone expected them to be ahead of him.

In any event, his quick exit saves himself and the incoming Harper government serious trouble. Harper doesn't suffer any blow-back from firing him, and he doesn't have to worry about him sabotaging Canada-U.S. relations as a prelude to running for the Liberal leadership.

And it gives him the chance to set a positive tone for relations with the U.S. with a friendlier ambassador. Preston Manning and Michael Wilson have been named as possibilities, as has Derek Burney for a second go-round, but former Encana CEO Gwyn Morgan can't be discounted. Nor Mike Harris, or even Major General Lewis Mackenzie.

With Allan Rock about to quit the UN, one poster at Andrew Coyne's site suggested Joe Clark. And that may not be such a bad idea. It would demonstrate the reconciliation of the last old Red Tory holdouts, and it is a position where he can do little harm, if not much good. It will also keep him from being a thorn in the government's side.

No comments: