Former B.C. premier John Horgan has been appointed as Canada’s new ambassador to Germany.
As Canada and Germany continue to strengthen their ties, particularly in clean energy, Mr. Horgan will provide strategic advice to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, said a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office announcing the appointment.
Mr. Horgan ended a five-year run as premier last November, and stepped down as a member of the B.C. legislature in March.
“He is a passionate public servant and an experienced leader, and I am confident that he will continue to serve Canada well and help advance our countries’ common interests in this new role,” Mr. Trudeau said in the statement.
When Mr. Horgan became B.C. premier in 2017, he was the first New Democrat to hold the post since Ujjal Dosanjh was premier in 2001. By winning a subsequent election in 2020, he became the first two-term NDP premier in B.C. history.
As a member of the B.C. Legislature from 2005 to 2023, Mr. Horgan represented the Vancouver Island riding of Langford-Juan de Fuca, the latest iteration of his riding.
On Wednesday, Mr. Horgan’s successor as B.C. premier congratulated him on his appointment.
“He did an amazing job working for British Columbians and I know he’ll be a fantastic representative for Canada in Germany. And I am sure that he is already practising saying: “Ich bin John aus Langford,’” David Eby wrote on the social platform X, formerly Twitter.
After being treated twice for cancer, Mr. Horgan announced in June, 2022, that he was retiring as premier, setting a timetable for his exit. Mr. Eby was sworn in as premier in November, 2022.
In February, 2023, Mr. Horgan gave a farewell speech to the legislature. At the time, Mr. Eby, also speaking in the B.C. Legislature, paid tribute to Mr. Horgan’s record of accomplishments, including a groundbreaking child-care program, reforming political donation law, eliminating medical services premiums and tolls on bridges, and navigating the province through the COVID-19 pandemic.
Former federal Liberal leader Stéphane Dion was ambassador to Germany from 2017 until 2022, with additional responsibilities as ambassador to the European Union.
Canada’s embassy in Germany is in Berlin, and there are consulates in Munich and Düsseldorf as well as an honorary consul in Stuttgart.
An overview of Canada-Germany relations posted on Global Affairs’ website notes that the two countries are like-minded global partners with a shared commitment to bolstering multilateralism and rules-based international order, with close co-operation on security and defence issues.
Last August, the two countries signed an agreement to jointly explore the production of hydrogen fuel in Canada for export to Germany as Germany’s government sought to become less dependent on Russian fuel supplies.
Political scientist Hamish Telford said Mr. Horgan had a productive relationship with Mr. Trudeau on varied issues such as supporting transportation infrastructure in the Vancouver region.
“I think that the greatest skill Mr. Horgan has here is really his close relationship with the Prime Minister,” he said.
“When he is in meetings with his German and European counterparts, they will know that he is the envoy of the Prime Minister, and that he has the Prime Minister’s ear, and I think that’s a really important signal that’s being sent here.”
Prof. Telford, who teaches at the University of the Fraser Valley, noted that Mr. Horgan is gregarious and gets along with people well – “that’s a huge part of being an ambassador.” He added that the former premier also has run a government so he understands complex issues and has a good understanding of energy policy, “which is obviously a huge concern for the Europeans, especially the Germans, given the war in Ukraine.”
However, he said the former premier lacks foreign policy and military experience.
Mr. Horgan will be the second recent B.C. premier to hold a senior diplomatic post in Europe.
Former BC Liberal premier Gordon Campbell served as Canadian high commissioner to Britain from 2011 to 2015. He was appointed by former prime minister Stephen Harper.