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

Teens design environmentally friendly invention

Plastic grocery bags transformed into cup coasters that can be used over and over again

Help for parents at Langley Community Services Society

Free counselling services available by appointment

Hugh Davis honoured with street dedication

A portion of 76B Avenue will be named Hugh Davis Way

Need for volunteer drivers ‘critical’ for Langley seniors

As little as four hours a week key in helping seniors get to and from appointments

UPDATE: No boutique hotel for Fort Langley

Builder formally withdraws application

UPDATED: SUV fire at Langley mall (with video)

Firefighters respond to Fraser Highway incident

Aldergrove played role in 1954 British Empire Games

Author of ‘The Miracle Mile’ explores ’54 Games in local context

High-end whisky seized in B.C. bar raids

Raids end in seizures at Victoria, Nanaimo and Vancouver whisky joints

E-cig likely the cause of townhouse fire

Smoke and fire damage but no one was hurt in Chilliwack

Train derails in Northwest B.C.

CN reports no injuries or dangerous goods involved after coal train derailment.

Double-doubles and demonstrations: Employees rally outside Tim Hortons

Protests held in response to Ontario franchise owners cutting employee benefits and breaks

Chilliwack board of education asks Neufeld to resign

Neufeld says he intends to stay on as trustee despite vote by peers

Las Vegas shooter acted alone, exact motive still undetermined: Sheriff

Stephen Paddock was behind the gunfire that killed 58 people including two Canadians

Botox, bomb shelters, and the blues: one year into Trump presidency

A look into life in Washington since Trump’s inauguration

Most Read