A country with a view
It might be hopeful speculation, but let’s say U.S. President Donald Trump appoints Sarah Palin as ambassador to Canada. She would complement his presidential style perfectly – apt to insult anyone outside or within earshot.
The Tea Party queen is the direct opposite of what most Canadians think an ambassador should bring to the job. She might set Canada-U.S. relations back to the War of 1812 era, but it would be interesting.
Forget for a moment that President Trump apparently gave private assurances last Monday to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau that the former governor of Alaska won’t get the appointment.
Barack Obama’s ambassadors to Canada were Democratic fundraisers David Jacobson and Bruce Heyman. Both were easily forgettable. No one would forget Sarah Palin.
She would certainly shake up the stuffy diplomatic corps in Ottawa and would routinely splash Canada across North American television screens.
If Palin could see Russia from one of her Alaskan islands, she certainly saw Canada from her backdoor. As governor, she resided well down the Alaskan panhandle in Juneau – within a few km of British Columbia, where on a clear day she could see the Queen Charlotte Islands.
In a recent poll, Canadians were asked who would be their preferred choice as ambassador. Former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani is the most popular choice, followed by former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, Senator Ted Cruz and New Jersey governor Chris Christie. They make us cringe.
If Palin comes to Ottawa, in the spirit of NAFTA, Canada is obliged to appoint an equally controversial ambassador to the U.S.
In no particular order, how about Rex Murphy, Conrad Black, William Shatner, Celine Dion or Mary Walsh?
Black, a former newspaper baron, and now a conservative columnist and commentator, was an early supporter of Mr. Trump. He has a profile in America, and not necessarily because he spent 37 months in a U.S. prison for fraud and obstruction of justice. These things happen.
Murphy – commentator, academic and author – might send Americans scrambling for the Canadato-U.S. dictionary to translate his speeches. The iconic son of Carbonear, N.L. endeared himself to Canadians from coast to coast as host of Cross Country Checkup for 21 years.
Shatner, who spent seven decades on U.S. television, will boldly go where few 85-year-old ambassadors have gone before. Americans will easily warm up to Captain James T. Kirk, T.J. Hooker and Denny Crane.
Besides her Grammy awards, singing megastar Dion has another upside. At state dinners, she can deliver stirring renditions of O Canada and the Star Spangled Banner in both French and English.
Walsh, a St. John’s, N.L. native, could show up unannounced at the White House and conduct an interview in the president’s bedroom. As Marg Delahunty, she could parody U.S. news, conduct satirical interviews and humiliate U.S. politicians.
Well, Mr. President, you have options.
As for Palin, no one needs to remind her to bring a warm coat to Ottawa.