Diplomats in Ottawa Angry . . . or Jealous
A new life has come...
Prime Minister Stephen Harper has named his chief bodyguard as Canada's new ambassador to Jordan.
Bruno Saccomani is not a career diplomat by any means, but he is an RCMP superintendent who pleased the Harper family an awful lot.
Foreign Affairs our diplomats are furious. Why should a police officer rather than a diplomat end up as ambassador, a position that requires some knowledge of world politics? Do we use diplomats to guard the Prime Minister and his family?
Saccomani is not just any cop. He's an RCMP superintendent with five years' experience as a police officer at our embassy in Rome.
He leads the security unit for Harper, his wife and their children since 2009. But most important of all, Saccomani is a friend of the Harper family. Harper always remembers his friends.
There are problems. Fifteen months ago the RCMP did a review and published a report which painted a bleak picture of the moral among the 117 police officers who protect the Harper family.
The report blames work disputes, harassment, discrimination, intimidation and favoritism rampant in the unit.
A majority of the officers interviewed said they had problems with their supervisor - Superintendent Bruno Saccomani.
Some complained of being reprimanded publicly or in front of their peers.
Some complained about not being able to focus on their tasks because they were concerned about the presence of their commanding officer - Supt. Saccomani. They said this represented an added risk to the safety of the Prime Minister, his family and others including employees and the general public.
A plan was then developed to solve the problems. Saccomani was assigned a mentor and a coach. He was given a statement of his responsibilities and what was expected of him. It worked.
Harper's office came to the defense of Saccomani with letters, and he was able to retain his position despite the report on his security unit.
Saccomani went on sick leave for eight weeks for heart surgery.
Other unit members said they were pleased with the way Saccomani strengthened security around the Prime Minister and how he was able to obtain modern equipment.
And Harper became less afraid than ever for himself and his family.
Long gone are the days Aline Chrétien used Inuit stone sculptures to defend herself and husband Jean against night-time intruders at 24 Sussex.
Some diplomats in Ottawa are wondering if there is security need at the embassy in Jordan that we do not know about.
Or is sending over a cop because of the recent wave of refugees coming over from Syria next door where a civil war rages on that creates a need for a security expert as our ambassador?
Could there be a connection with Saccomani going over to Jordan and the 13 million dollars in aid to Jordan our Minister of Foreign Affairs John Baird just brought there recently?
Does Saccomani understand that part of the world as a cop understands it, or does he understand the Middle East as would a diplomat? There is a world of difference.
Or is it merely jealousy on the part of Canadian diplomats who feel abandoned by a Prime Minister who only wants to reward his friends?
This is the first time Canada has appointed a police officer as our ambassador abroad.
However, two years ago Harper appointed former police chief Julian Fantino as his Associate Defence Minister in charge of buying his new F-35 fighter aircraft .
A year later Fantino was transferred to the Canadian International Development Agency, a much less critical position.
We've seen the job Fantino has done in that department.