The Wilson Center’s Canada Institute says a heartfelt farewell to Canada’s Ambassador to the United States David MacNaughton who has decided to step down in September 2019 and return home. The Canada Institute works closely with the Canadian Embassy in Washington. We were fortunate to have Ambassador MacNaughton as a trusted advisor as well as a neighbour down the street.

David MacNaughton became Canada’s Ambassador in Washington in March of 2016, taking over the post just months before the U.S. 2016 presidential elections. Ambassador MacNaughton managed the relationship during a period of U.S.-Canada turbulence unprecedented in a generation and ensured that Canada’s most important trade relationship remained afloat.

MacNaughton quarterbacked the Team Canada approach in the United States.  Unified delegations of politicians of all parties, premiers, mayors and business leaders travelled to the U.S. to remind Americans of the importance of the relationship. Canada’s Maple Charm Offensive was a bold initiative that hit its mark but which could have gone terribly wrong in less capable hands.

A career strategist, MacNaughton has worked in both the private and public sectors.  He served as President and CEO of Hill+Knowlton Strategies and Chairman for StrategyCorp. He has also managed key campaigns at the provincial and federal levels.

Meanwhile, Canada’s interests in Washington continue to be in good hands. Kirsten Hillman has been Deputy Ambassador since August 2017 and will now step in as Acting Ambassador. Hillman is an experienced Canadian diplomat with unparalleled trade credentials, having served as Canada’s chief negotiator in the Trans-Pacific Partnership.  As we move through a critical period USMCA ratification, Ambassador Hillman is very well suited to ensure a successful conclusion to the deal.