Would-be envoy to Canada displays diplomatic abilities at hearing

It’s probably not the worst sign for an aspiring American diplomat when his congressional grilling ends with Santa Claus jokes.

WASHINGTON — It’s probably not the worst sign for an aspiring American diplomat when his congressional grilling ends with Santa Claus jokes.

The would-be next ambassador to Canada, Bruce Heyman, was spared hostile questioning Wednesday during his Senate confirmation hearing.

By the time it was over, the only senator left in the room was the committee chairman and they were sharing chuckles about Old Saint Nick.

“You have displayed your diplomatic abilities in extraordinary fashion,” Sen. Robert Menendez, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told the rookie diplomat.

This was after an exchange where he’d asked the nominee, tongue planted in cheek, whether an ongoing Arctic mapping project might result in Santa being declared a U.S. citizen.

Heyman’s reply: the jolly North Pole resident is, in fact, a citizen of the world, and his safety is guaranteed by a joint Canada-U.S. military initiative, Norad.

And that’s where they left off.

If the Senate Foreign Relations committee recommends the appointment, and it’s then approved in a vote on the Senate floor, the Chicago investment banker and prominent Democratic party fundraiser will succeed another Chicagoan Democratic party fundraiser as the U.S. envoy to Ottawa.

During the brief hearing, John McCain had asked a couple of terse questions about the Keystone pipeline project.

The former presidential candidate received a non-answer from Heyman, stood up, and left the room.

It was a far cry from the interrogation earlier Wednesday to which McCain had subjected other nominees; he’d pummelled a previous panel with detailed followup questions about aid for Egypt, sanctions for Iran and help for Syrian fighters.

In Heyman’s case, he simply asked whether he supported Keystone. Heyman explained that his job wasn’t to make a decision on the Alberta-to-Texas pipeline, but merely to explain it to Canadians once a decision is finally made.

“There’s a process,” Heyman said.

To which McCain retorted: “So you have no position?” Heyman agreed. And McCain promptly left the room, concluding the most challenging moment of Heyman’s appearance.

Just Posted

Trial stalls for man accused in fatal Canada Day 2016 crash

Defence lawyer argued relevant information received only hours before trial to begin

Big-time entertainers to perform in Red Deer during the 2019 Canada Winter Games

Musicans announced include Strumbellas, k-os, Brett Kissel

Builders say it’s not the time for higher permit fees in Red Deer

Construction industry is hard hit by slow economy

Bighorn Country telephone town hall for Red Deer area set for Wednesday

Residents can phone in from 6:30-7:30 p.m. to hear about the project or ask questions

WATCH:2019 Canada Winter Games torchbearers announced

Sixteen torchbearers announced with others to be revealed during Opening Ceremonies

Theresa May wins no-confidence vote after Brexit deal rejection

UK PM can keep her job, after House of Commons voted 325-306

Liberal candidate steps aside after singling out Jagmeet Singh’s race

Karen Wang says she made comments online that referenced Singh’s cultural background

Alberta doctor accused of sexual assault asked to voluntarily give up practice

College says Dr. Barry Wollach should discontinue his practice, given the seriousness of the allegation against him

Speedy acceptance of Saudi shows refugee system’s flaws

Who would not wish Rahaf Mohammed well? The 18-year-old Saudi wants to… Continue reading

Hertl’s hat trick leads Sharks past Penguins 5-2

SAN JOSE, Calif. — Tomas Hertl needed just three games to get… Continue reading

Starring role beckons for Canada’s Alphonso Davies at Bayern Munich

BERLIN — Canadian teenager Alphonso Davies could be thrown in at the… Continue reading

Bus singer gives voice to Venezuela’s growing diaspora

LIMA, Peru — A year ago, Venezuelan migrant Reymar Perdomo was singing… Continue reading

Corey Hart to be inducted into Canadian Music Hall of Fame at Juno Awards

TORONTO — Crooner Corey Hart will join Canadian music royalty in the… Continue reading

Most Read