Kirsten Hillman made diplomatic history Thursday becoming the first woman to be named Canada’s ambassador to the United States, drawing praise both from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the opposition Conservatives.
Hillman, a former top trade negotiator, was officially assigned to Canada’s most important diplomatic posting in recognition of her “exceptional knowledge and skills” and being a “gifted diplomat.”
Hillman has served as Canada’s acting ambassador to the U.S. since August 2019, and was previously the deputy ambassador.
Under the previous Conservative government, she served as chief negotiator on Canada’s Trans Pacific Partnership team.
Hillman also played a leading role in Canada’s NAFTA negotiations under the Trudeau government.
“When we worked together to negotiate the new NAFTA, I saw Ms. Hillman’s ability to stand up for Canadians and fight for their interests,” Trudeau said in a statement. “Ms. Hillman will remain a trusted advisor, friend, and counsellor in Washington and is our point person with Congress and the U.S. administration. I know that Canadians will be well represented by her.”
Former Conservative prime minister Stephen Harper tweeted that Hillman’s “exceptional leadership in the public service will serve Canada well during these challenging times.”
Congratulations @KirstenHillmanA on being appointed Canada’s permanent Ambassador to the United States. Kirsten’s exceptional leadership in the public service will serve Canada well during these challenging times.
— Stephen Harper (@stephenharper) March 26, 2020
Congratulations, Kirsten https://t.co/ED1lhdMsMR
— Roland Paris (@rolandparis) March 26, 2020