Doer -- not just another Frank McKenna
Many comparisons have been made between the new U.S. ambassador-designate and one of his predecessors, Frank McKenna. Why, I believe I made the comparison in today's paper.
Both were popular, pragmatic premiers, who knew when to leave office, and both picked their departure dates around their 10th anniversary in office.
But the situations aren't exactly parallel. First of all, Frank McKenna spent considerable time in the private sector (7 years) in the gap between being premier and ambassador. And, more pointedly today, Doer seemed determined to avoid McKenna's mistake of speaking too soon about Canada-U.S. policy issues, at that time (2005) ballistic missile defence (BMD). If you need reminding, here's a good overview -- specifically this part.
Canada’s incoming ambassador to the US, Frank McKenna, let the cat out of the bag when he told the House of Commons Foreign Relations Committee that Canada is for all intents and purposes already participating in BMD. In support of his claim, McKenna pointed to the agreement Ottawa reached with Washington last summer under which NORAD, the joint Canadian-US North American aerospace command, is sharing information with the US missile defence program. The monitoring of North America’s airspace is one of NORAD’s principal responsibilities.
Most of the press has treated McKenna’s remarks as a faux pas, since they came just 48 hours before the Liberal government publicly announced that it would not be joining BMD.