The Senate is voting to send Technical Chief David Cohen to Ottawa as Biden’s US envoy

WASHINGTON – The Senate has confirmed David Cohen, a tech chief who once served as chief of staff to the mayor of Philadelphia, to be the next U.S. ambassador to Canada.

Cohen, a lawyer, lobbyist and fundraiser who served as senior adviser and chief diversity officer at US communications giant Comcast, was nominated in July by President Joe Biden.

He is no stranger to political circles: in addition to serving as Comcast’s primary lobbyist, Cohen spent five years as chief of staff to Philadelphia Mayor Ed Rendell in the 1990s.

He also hosted the first fundraising event in Biden’s successful 2020 presidential election campaign.

During his confirmation hearing in September, Cohen sang the praises of the relationship between Canada and the United States.

But he also suggested that the Biden administration was becoming impatient with Ottawa’s long-term China policy.

“We are all waiting for Canada to release its framework for its overall China policy,” he told members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, describing the autocratic regime’s ambitions as an “existential threat” to the United States.

He also said he would be involved in discussions to “ensure that Canada’s policies reflect its word on the treatment of China.”

Just days later, relations between the two countries – strained to break off China’s arbitrary detention of two Canadians, Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, following Canada’s arrest of Huawei director Meng Wanzhou on a US arrest warrant – took a dramatic turn.

The U.S. Department of Justice agreed to a deferred prosecution agreement for Wanzhou, who was accused of circumventing U.S. sanctions against Iran. Her release from custody in Vancouver was followed within hours of the release of the two Canadians.

Canada has not yet formally said whether it plans to block Huawei equipment from being used in the country’s ever-expanding 5G network, although all four of its Five Eyes intelligence partners, including the US, UK, New Zealand and Australia, have already done so. that.

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on November 2, 2021.

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