About Daniel Livermore

Senior Fellow, Graduate School of Public and International Affairs

Daniel Livermore

Off to Tel Aviv: The Latest Strange Diplomatic Appointment

Shortly before the Prime Minister’s January trip to the Middle East, the Harper Government announced its choice to fill Canada’s long-vacant ambassadorial chair in Tel Aviv. Vivian Bercovici—a Toronto lawyer, occasional commentator on Israeli affairs and backroom Tory loyalist—is the new head of mission. She was accorded a lukewarm but appropriate w… Read More

Tags: , , , , ,

Our Man in Prague: An Appointment that Raises Questions

Otto Jelinek, refugee from Communism, world-champion figure skater and Mulroney-era Cabinet Minister, was recently appointed as Canada’s ambassador to the Czech Republic. In the summer doldrums, there was virtually no reaction in Canada to the announcement, except citations from the official government press release. The appointment also coincid… Read More

Tags: , , ,

Harper, Baird and Multilateral Cooperation

Familiar stories came out of New York over the past two weeks as the global community assembled for the annual UN General Assembly debates. John Baird’s speech on September 30, while appalling in style and policy content, was free of the gratuitous anti-UN rhetoric of previous efforts. It followed a quick visit to the city by the Prime Minister, with meeting… Read More

Tags: , , , , ,

What the Saccomani Appointment Means

The appointment of Bruno Saccomani, head of the Prime Minister’s security detail, to be the next Canadian Ambassador to Jordan and Iraq struck even the most cynical observers of the Harper government as a curious move. The two countries are pivotal in a volatile region, at a critical time for Syria, Turkey, Israel and Iran as well as for the Palestinians. For… Read More

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Where’s the Public Outrage Over Harper’s Foreign Policy?

Public policy discussion these days suffers from a curious anomaly. Vast numbers of experts disagree with the government’s performance on many issues. But there’s little reflection of this mood in the popular media or on the street. Announcements which might have triggered marches and demonstrations a couple of decades ago pass almost unnoticed. NGOs a… Read More

Tags: , , , , ,

The Hugo Chavez Legacy

Prime Minister Harper’s message to the Venezuelan people following the death of Hugo Chavez was curt.  Essentially, it amounted to “good riddance”.  Chavez was a galvanizing figure who commanded faint praise in many quarters.  But it’s one thing to relish the demise of a pesky irritant.  It’s another thing entirely to miss the broader picture of the Chave… Read More

Tags: , , , ,

A Footnote on Canada-Iran Relations

The Harper government took a decision in late August 2012, to bring Canadian diplomats out of Tehran and expel Iranian diplomats in Ottawa. It was described by some observers as a sudden decision, but it was obviously a measure which required time to implement. It may have come as a surprise to the Iranian embassy in Ottawa. But for Canadians in Tehran, it foll… Read More

Tags: , , , , ,

The Central Conundrum of Baird’s UN Speech

It’s too easy to dismiss John Baird’s October 1 speech to the UN General Assembly as simply another exercise in appealing to the party’s base. True, it did precisely that, capturing headlines back home as a “scathing rebuke” to the organization for its failure to address the Syrian situation seriously. But the problem is that speeches like this, drafted to p… Read More

Tags: , , ,

John Baird on Human Rights in Foreign Policy

John Baird’s speech on September 14 at the Montreal Council on Foreign Relations may be long on benign self-congratulation, which goes down well when speaking to Canadian audiences. But at least it sheds some light on “the untold story of our government’s principled, values-based foreign policy”. The bulk of the speech tackles the principles of human rig… Read More

Tags: , , , ,

Eliminating Accountability and Masking the Intent at CSIS

In the early 1970’s, the Director of the CIA used to tell fellow Americans, “trust us”. That turned out to be bad advice – bad for the CIA and bad for the reputation of a country ostensibly dedicated to the rule of law. It’s only prudent, therefore, to ask how the Canadian Security and Intelligence Service will be held to account once the Harper Government’s “Omn… Read More

Tags: ,