Kelly Knight Craft mentioned softwood lumber, dairy and poultry as priority areas when asked about Canada and U.S. relations. (The Canadian Press)

Trump ambassador to Canada confirmed

Kelly Knight Craft swiftly confirmed by U.S. Senate

Donald Trump’s ambassador is heading to Canada: the United States Senate has swiftly confirmed Kelly Knight Craft, endorsing her nomination in time for her to begin work as major trade negotiations start.

The confirmation was announced Thursday by the Republican leader of the Senate, Mitch McConnell.

He applauded the appointment of his fellow Kentuckian, whom he knows through politics back in their home state, and whom he publicly endorsed during her congressional hearing two weeks ago.

That swift two-week turnaround is faster than how the Senate handled the last ambassador’s appointment, as it allowed the nomination of Barack Obama’s pick Bruce Heyman to languish for months before proceeding.

It came after a breezy confirmation hearing.

Anything but a grilling, Knight Craft was asked two questions about basketball, and others about Russian election-meddling and NATO in her congressional hearing. She declared that she believed Russia interfered in the U.S. election.

She was also asked about promoting U.S. exports to Canada, and mentioned softwood lumber, dairy and poultry as priority areas.

RELATED: Horgan to talk softwood in Washington

This appointment allows Knight Craft to start work at a sensitive moment in Canada-U.S. relations — the two countries and Mexico will start negotiating an update to the North American Free Trade Agreement on Aug. 16.

Knight Craft is a longtime philanthropist, wife of a Kentucky coal magnate, and supporter of Republican causes who organized inaugural events for the state’s governor and for President Donald Trump.

Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland offered her congratulations on Twitter Thursday night.

“Great news, congratulations,” Canada’s ambassador to Washington, David MacNaughton, tweeted Thursday.

The new ambassador’s state governor sang her praises during a recent meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. At a governors’ conference in Rhode Island, Matt Bevin told Trudeau: “You’re going to have a good colleague… You’re getting someone who’s gracious, and very well-networked. Very respected.”

In a statement Thursday, McConnell saluted the new ambassador.

“Our two nations share much more than a border; we have a heritage of trade and security relations that benefit us both,” said the Republican leader.

“As a proven advocate for our national interests, Kelly will use her position to continue the long history of friendship between the United States and Canada. I appreciate her willingness to serve our country once again, and I know that she will make Kentucky proud.”

Alexander Panetta, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Verdict to be delivered December 15 for three on trial in Anahim murders

The fates of Christian Craciun, Andrew Jongbloets, and Serena Rhem (Mack) will be decided on December 15 at 10am.

‘I fell asleep’ admits second mate in Nathan E. Stewart fuel spill

The tug spilled more than 100,000 litres of diesel off B.C.’s northern coast

Northwest’s new MRI hits milestone

Stakeholders celebrate 500th scan of diagnostic imaging device

VIDEO: Best photos of the Supermoon 2017

At its closest, the Frost Moon was about 363,300 km away from the Earth

Firefighters protect seaside California towns as blaze rages

A flare-up on the western edge of Southern California’s largest and most destructive wildfire sent residents fleeing Sunday

Putin declares victory on visit to air base in Syria

Declaring a victory in Syria, Putin on Monday visited a Russian military air base in the country and announced a partial pullout of Russian forces from the Mideast nation.

Pipe bomb explodes in NYC subway

Pipe bomb strapped to man explodes in NYC subway, injuring 4

Toronto FC to hold victory parade following MLS Cup championship

Toronto FC to hold downtown victory parade following MLS Cup championship

Canada’s only commercial spaceport hopes to launch 12 rockets per year

Nova Scotia’s rocket launch site hopes to eventually host 12 launches per year

‘Big Little Lies’ lead Golden Globes

The nominees were announced from Beverly Hills after still-burning fires ravaged Southern California for the past week.

B.C. actress’s role in Wonder brings perspective to the topic of bullying

Crystal Lowe plays bully’s mother in the Hollywood movie

Site C decision coming Monday

Premier John Horgan to announce fate of dam project at B.C. legislature

Most Read