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Former foreign affairs minister Lawrence Cannon, shown in Toronto on Oct. 4, 2011, joined Gowlings law firm after his ouster from federal politics.Kevin Van Paassen

Stephen Harper has appointed his former foreign minister, Lawrence Cannon, as Canada's ambassador to France.

Mr. Cannon lost his seat as part of the NDP's near-sweep of Quebec ridings a year ago, and has been rewarded by his former boss with one of the most plum diplomatic postings in Canada's foreign service.

He's the second defeated Tory minister to be made an ambassador since that election, after Jean-Pierre Blackburn was appointed ambassador to UNESCO, also in Paris, last December.

Mr. Cannon is a former provincial Liberal minister from Quebec who switched parties to join Mr. Harper as a Quebec adviser when the Conservatives were still in opposition. Since last October, he had worked as a consultant for law firm Gowlings Lafleur Henderson in Ottawa as chair of its government affairs group.

His appointment as ambassador in Paris has been rumoured almost since the day he was defeated in May, 2011. He replaces Marc Lortie, a veteran foreign service officer who has been in Paris since 2007, an unusually long tour in a diplomatic posting.

The post is one of a handful of the top-ranked ambassadorships in Canada's foreign service – where Washington is the biggest job – like postings to London, Beijing, or the United Nations.