Amid all the talk this week of Stephen Harper's enemies list, a lot of us missed what is surely another example of how corrupt the Harper government has become -- the appointment of Harper's former bodyguard as the Canadian ambassador to Jordan. Gerald Caplan writes that, as ambassador, Bruno Saccomani is also responsible for relations with Iraq. Mr. Soccomani has no background in foreign affairs:
Because Mr. Saccomani, a middle-level Mountie, was in charge of the PM’s personal security, the government brazenly peddles him as an expert in security, ready to be an ambassador. What an insult to the intelligence of Canadians and what a slap in the face to the entire foreign service. Personal security and international security are two unrelated universes. Mr. Saccomani seems to have no background in the vast, intricate world of diplomacy, foreign affairs, the Middle East in general or Jordan and Iraq in particular.
But expertise is clearly not Mr. Harper's strong suit. As the enemies list illustrates, it's loyalty that counts with Harper:
By any normative standard, [Saccomani] has not a single qualification for the job except that Stephen Harper trusts him. Or, in Harperlandese, as articulated by Conservative MP Deepak Obhrai, parliamentary secretary to Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird, Saccomani is a “very distinguished individual with a strong record as a professional public servant.” In other words, a good bodyguard.
Those who do know something about Foreign Affairs have figured out the real significance of Saccomani's appointment:
As Daniel Livermore, senior fellow in the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, University of Ottawa, wrote in the Globe and Mail, Canada intends to play no role in the fraught Middle East peace process. “To put the matter bluntly, the government just doesn’t care enough about the region or its issues to put experienced people in charge.The rise of Stephen Harper has been all about the rise of the spectacularly incompetent.