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

B.C. BUDGET: New spaces a step to universal child care

Fees reduced for licensed daycare operators

BC BUDGET: NDP cracks down on speculators, hidden ownership

Foreign buyers’ tax extended to Fraser Valley, Okanagan, Vancouver Island

B.C. BUDGET: Payroll tax replaces medical premiums

Health spending to increase $1.5 billion for drugs, primary care teams

B.C. freestyle skier wins gold

Cassie Sharpe of Comox shines in the halfpipe

Nuxalk teams enjoy successful standings in 59th All Native Tournament

After seven days of non-stop basketball, the All Native Tournament came to a thrilling finish

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Hydaburg makes it three in a row

Hydaburg came back from 10 points down in the second half to beat Aiyansh

Kitkatla end 54 year drought with title win

The Warriors defeated Hydaburg 70-67 in overtime to win the 2018 All Native Tournament title

UBCO students to get medical cannabis coverage

Kelowna - The pilot project will be implemented in April

BC Budget: NDP push for purpose-built rentals in ‘historic’ $1.6B housing investment

Hundreds of thousands of new low- and middle-income units coming over three years

B.C. BUDGET: More for wildfire recovery, campsites

NDP government to hire 20 more Conservation Officers this year

B.C. BUDGET: Surpluses predicted for three years

Tax revenues up, ICBC losses weigh heavily on provincial books

Parts of B.C. see record-breaking temperatures in cold snap

Sechelt, Yoho National Park were the chilliest ever Monday

Most Read