Diplomatic Appointments

March 22, 2012 - Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird today announced the following diplomatic appointments:

James Ian Burchett becomes Consul General in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (People’s Republic of China), with concurrent accreditation as Consul General in the Macao Special Administrative Region (People’s Republic of China).

Thomas MacDonald becomes Ambassador to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, with concurrent accreditation to the Republic of Yemen and the Kingdom of Bahrain.

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Biographical notes on the appointees follow.

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Biographical Notes

James Ian Burchett (BA Honours [Political Science], Queen’s University, 1982; MA [Public Administration], Carleton University, 1985). Prior to joining External Affairs and International Trade Canada in 1990, he worked as a legislative assistant to a member of parliament, as an Interchange Canada officer with the Public Service Commission, and as a commerce officer in Industry Canada’s Service Industries Bureau. Mr. Burchett has served abroad as trade commissioner in Kingston, head of the Investment Promotion Program at the Canadian consulate general in New York City, counsellor (public and cultural affairs) at the Canadian embassy in Beijing, and most recently minister-counsellor (congressional and legal affairs) and deputy head of the Washington Secretariat at the Canadian embassy in Washington, D.C. He also opened the Canadian consulate in Monterrey, Mexico. At Headquarters, he has worked in divisions responsible for further advancing Canadian trade and economic interests with the Middle East and Gulf states, China, Taiwan and the Republic of Korea. He also served as director of the Media Relations Office and director general of the Communications Bureau (Foreign Affairs). In 1994, he received the Professional Association of Foreign Service Officers award. He has also received the Public Service Award of Excellence for support to the Government of Canada’s response to the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and for the Canadian response to consular emergencies in 2009. Mr. Burchett succeeds Doreen Steidle.

Thomas MacDonald (BA, Queen’s University; MA, University of Calgary) joined the Department of Industry, Trade and Commerce in 1974 and has served abroad in Mexico City, Brussels, London, Buenos Aires and Sydney. In Ottawa, he has held a range of senior positions in several departmental headquarters (Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada, the Department of Industry, and the Ministry of State for Economic and Regional Development). He has served as director for GATT Affairs, director general for the Export and Import Permits Bureau (now the Trade Controls and Technical Barriers Bureau), director general for U.S. Trade and Economic Policy, and deputy head of Canada’s Mission to the European Union in Brussels, minister (commercial/economic) at the High Commission in the United Kingdom, Canada’s alternate director to the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and director general for Central, Eastern and Southern Europe. He has represented Canada in numerous bilateral and multilateral trade negotiations, including as Canada’s chief textile negotiator, a NAFTA negotiator, and as lead negotiator for the 1996 Canada-U.S. Softwood Lumber Agreement. From 2001 to 2004, he served as ambassador to Argentina and Paraguay, and from 2007 to 2011, as consul general in Sydney, Australia. Most recently, he has undertaken responsibility for managing files related to Canada’s engagement with Libya and has served briefly as chargé d’affaires in both Tripoli and Brunei. Mr. MacDonald is married to Susan (née Chase) and they have one son, Alexander. Mr. MacDonald succeeds David Chatterson.