From Berlin to Paris, Ambassador Stéphane Dion sees to Canada's interests

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From Berlin to Paris, Ambassador Stéphane Dion sees to the interests of Canada

Former Minister of Foreign Affairs Stéphane Dion during a press briefing in January 2020.

After spending five years in Berlin as Canada's Ambassador, the ex-Liberal Minister Stéphane Dion has accepted the new mandate given to him by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, that of Canada's Ambassador to Paris. He also keeps his mandate as special envoy of the Prime Minister to the European Union.

He gave the Midi show info on Thursdayhis first interview with a Canadian media since receiving his credentials from the Élysée on October 13.

War in Ukraine, price crisis energy, galloping inflation, right-wing governments, Europe is going through turbulent times and the ambassador says he is concerned about democracy on the European continent.

My priority is to make sure that European democracies are holding up, moving in the right direction. Canada is not an island. We need European allies, a resolutely democratic, liberal European continent […] So we are doing everything we can to advance Canadian interests in concert with European interests.

< p class="e-p">The ambassador agrees that the far-right movement championed by some countries like Italy and Sweden is not desirable in Canada. When a country chooses a government, we work with the government of the country. There are governments with which it is much easier to work than others, he admits.

In the difficult file of the war in Ukraine, Stéphane Dion defines Canada's role as an important player on a great team captained by the United States.

The French and the Germans are making efforts to maintain ties with President Putin in the idea that if we completely cut communications it will be even worse. We Canadians, our strength is that we know the Ukrainian community inside out, not just with the government, but with the entire population. We have been there for a long time, we have been training their armed forces for a long time, their police forces […] We are very present and it is very appreciated by our allies.

As Special Envoy for the European Union, Ambassador Dion defines himself as a very useful intermediary for the Prime Minister and for Canadian diplomacy in general.

Mr. Trudeau and I have worked together for a very long time, we really like each other. I have weekly contact with his office. We review the major Canadian-European questions one after the other. My colleagues from different European countries know this and send me their pressing requests. "Don't forget to tell him that…"

Stéphane Dion adds that he would not have stayed if it had been otherwise .

I'm staying because I feel useful to my country, he concludes.

A turbulent time to be a diplomat in Europe

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A turbulent time to be a diplomat in Europe. 9-minute audio content, ICI Première show. Listen to audio.

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