Vivian Bercovici, a lawyer and supporter of Israel, has been appointed as Canada’s ambassador to Israel, Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird announced Wednesday (January 8).
“Having lived in Israel and written extensively on the region, Ms. Bercovici has an excellent understanding of the challenges facing the country and deep insight into the opportunities provided by the strong links between our two countries,” said Minister Baird in a press release.
Asked by a journalist what signal Canada was sending to the Middle East with Bercovici’s appointment given her known pro-Israel views, published in opinion columns in the Toronto Star newspaper, the Minister responded: “I don’t think it will be a huge shock to anyone that Canada is a strong supporter of the state of Israel, that won’t be news or surprise to anyone.”
After the announcement, Bercovici described Canada’s relationship with Israel this way: “Canada supports Israel’s right to exist in peace and security. Canada stands firm in the international fight against anti-Semitism, including raising awareness of the Holocaust. And Canada recognizes the importance of building inclusive and stable societies, underpinned by democracy, freedom, human rights, and the rule of law.”
Some early media reports also raised the issue that Bercovici has no experience as a diplomat.
In the early 1990s, Bercovici focused on media defence work. Later she was a policy adviser to the minister of finance in the Canadian province of Ontario. She was vice-president and general counsel at the Dominion of Canada General Insurance Company. From 2007 to 2013, she was a partner with Heenan Blaikie LLP. In March of 2013, she was appointed for five years to the board of directors of Canada’s national public radio and television broadcaster, CBC/Radio-Canada.
Canada’s Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper, a big supporter of Israel, will visit Israel later this month.
Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada press release – Vivian Bercovici Appointed as Canada’s Ambassador to Israel – here
CBC News – Vivian Bercovici named Canada’s new ambassador to Israel – here
Globe and Mail – Pro-Israel non-diplomat appointed Canadian ambassador – here
National Post – Toronto lawyer Vivian Bercovici is Canada’s next ambassador to Israel as Harper government ‘affirms unfailing support’ for Jewish state – here