Aglukkaq dispatched to important arctic conference
With the government in need of a new Minister of Foreign Affairs since Lawrence Cannon suffered a defeat in the 2011 election.
No decision seems to have been made as to who will adopt that particular role. Former Afghan ambassador Chris Alexander is downplaying speculation that has him bound for the job.
Considering the government's assignment of Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq to attend the upcoming Arctic Council summit in Greenland. The summit will make some important decisions for the future of the Arctic Council, inlcuding the role of non-Arctic countries within that council.
Aglukkaq will presumably be working closely with bureaucrats from the Department of Foreign Affairs in order to guide her at the summit. But some so-called "foreign affairs experts" -- namely UBC professor Michael Byers -- are already counting her down.
"It is a big time," Byers declared, but has seemingly jumped to conclusions about Alukkaq's ability to represent Canada at the conference. "She will be out of her depth."
"It's not perfect," Byers admitted. "But in the circumstances, it's not the worst choice."
He noted that, as Inuit, Aglukkaq is at least a sound "symbolic" representative at the conference.
But counting Aglukkaq down is entirely premature. She's proven to be an excellent Minister of Health, and an excellent advocate for Inuit in Ottawa. Given the right advice, and provided the proper guidance, there's no reason whatsoever to believe that Aglukkaq will represent Canada any less than admirably at the Arctic Council Summit.
Byers -- who is a former NDP candidate, and is now watching his party flirt with contention for government -- would likely imagine himself as Canada's representative at the Arctic Council Summit, as Foreign Affairs Minister of an NDP government.
Which tempts one to chalk Michael Byers' attitude up to professional jealousy.
After all, if Leona Aglukkaq does her job at the Summit as splendidly as those familiar with her performance to date expect, she just may end up with the Minister of Foreign Affairs job Michael Byers so clearly and deeply covets.