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Biden appeals to Philly-area ally to become Canadian ambassador

Challenges: Cohen, however, would still have major issues to resolve, particularly when it comes to trade and economics.

Cross-border differences include “Buy from America” policies, softwood lumber, dairy, digital service taxes, and genetically modified crops.

Cooperation: Since Biden took office, neighbors have pledged to cooperate in a number of areas. The president and Trudeau held a large virtual meeting in February and established a “road map” of bilateral commitments.

Biden also pledged to work with Ottawa until two Canadians imprisoned in China are released.

The Covid-19 restrictions at the shared border and their removal also emerged as a key policy area for both sides.

Who is he: Cohen is a long-time senior executive at Comcast, a leading US provider of cable, Internet and telephone services headquartered in Philadelphia. He was Ed Rendell’s chief of staff when the Democrat was the city’s mayor in the 1990s.

Cohen organized a fundraiser for Biden on his first official day as a presidential candidate in April 2019 and has been a campaign organizer for Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. He also raised funds for Republicans in Pennsylvania.

What he means for Canada: Cohen would likely have a direct line to the White House – a valuable trait for Ottawa.

In recent years, Lornado has been a destination of choice for political ambassadors, an approach that suits the Canadian government perfectly. A common language and proximity to states – as well as its close relationship with Washington – make Canada an attractive destination for these political actors.

In an interview posted earlier this month, Cohen gave Penn Today a glimpse into how he stays motivated.

“People used to tell me I don’t know how to say no, that I say yes to everything,” Cohen told the college publication. “And for two or three years I had my assistant keep a list of everything I said no to. After a few years there were about 500 items on the list. So I say, I know. how to say no, but I don’t say no to everything that is important. I have long lived by the Ben Franklin line, that if you want something done go find the busiest person and ask them to do it.

Cohen wasn’t the only Biden booster in contention for Canada Post. Richard Perkins, former Nevada state lawmaker and founder and CEO of the Business Council of Canada and Nevada, expressed interest in the position at POLITICO in March. Former U.S. Senate Majority Leader and Nevada Democrat Harry Reid argued for it.

Rendell spoke to the media about Cohen as a potential ambassadorial choice after Biden won the 2020 election, noting his interest in a prominent country like Canada.

“He’s not looking for the Bahamas,” Rendell told the Philadelphia Inquirer in December.

Other nominees: Victoria Reggie Kennedy – the second wife and widow of longtime Senator Ted Kennedy – has been appointed Ambassador to Austria. Kennedy was a mentor for the president, a person to whom Biden credits his political rise.

Kennedy, who practices law in Boston and Washington, DC, is the co-founder of the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate. She is also a gun safety advocate and founded Common Sense about Kids and Guns, a group working to reduce gun violence deaths and injuries to children.

Biden also announced Jamie Harpootlian as his candidate ambassador to Slovenia. The South Carolina attorney was appointed by the Justice Department, Civil Division, to serve as a hearing officer on the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund.

Previously, she worked for 17 years as a career legal assistant in a US district court in Louisiana.

Last week, Biden appointed former Senator Jeff Flake as ambassador to Turkey, an important diplomatic post for the anti-Trump Republican.

Myah Ward contributed to this report.

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