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NEWS RELEASE · 1st September 2007
The Honourable Maxime Bernier, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today announced the following diplomatic appointments:

Caroline Chrétien becomes High Commissioner to the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Ronald Davidson becomes Ambassador to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, with concurrent accreditation to the Republic of Yemen and the Kingdom of Bahrain.

Robert Desjardins becomes Ambassador to the Republic of the Philippines.

Dale Eisler becomes Consul General in Denver (United States of America).

Sigrid Johnson becomes Ambassador to the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

I. David Marshall becomes High Commissioner to Barbados, with concurrent accreditation to the Commonwealth of Dominica, Grenada, Antigua and Barbuda, Saint Lucia, the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Malcolm McKechnie becomes Ambassador to the Kingdom of Spain, with concurrent accreditation to the Principality of Andorra.

Guillermo Rishchynski becomes Ambassador to the United Mexican States.

Renata Elisabeth Wielgosz becomes Ambassador to the Hellenic Republic.

Guillermo Rishchynski becomes Ambassador to the United Mexican States.

Biographical notes on the appointees are as follows:


Caroline Chrétien (LLB, Université de Montréal, 1989) served as Policy Analyst, Quebec and Consitutional Affairs, with the National Liberal Caucus Research Bureau of the House of Commons; as Special Assistant to the Leader, Quebec and Constitutional Affairs, with the Office of the Leader of the Official Opposition; and as Senior Special Assistant to the Prime Minister prior to joining the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade in 2001. Since joining, she has served as Deputy Chief of Protocol and Director, Diplomatic Corps Services; and Director, Korea and Oceania Division. She is currently Director, East Asia Division II. Caroline Chrétien succeeds David Angell.

Ronald Davidson (BSc [Agriculture], McGill University, 1971) joined Agriculture Canada in 1971 and held several positions in that department, including that of Associate Director, International Market Development Division, from 1983 to 1987. Following assignments in Washington and Paris, he transferred to the Department of External Affairs and International Trade in 1991. From 1994 to 1999, he served in Tokyo. In Ottawa, he held positions in the Office of North America Free Trade Negotiations, the Trade Rules Division, and the Technical Barriers and Regulations Division. He was named Deputy Director of the South America Division in 1999, and became its Director in 2000. In 2002 he was appointed Consul General in Sao Paulo, Brazil. He currently serves as Director General, Trade Commissioner Service—Initiatives. He and his wife, Marcia Foster, have six children. Mr. Davidson succeeds Roderick Bell.

Robert Desjardins (BA [Political Science], Université Laval, 1975) joined the Department of External Affairs in 1978, and has since served abroad in Havana, Hong Kong, Beijing and Bangkok. At headquarters, he has served as Desk Officer, Consular Policy; Assignment Officer, Personnel; Deputy Director, Economic Relations with Developing Countries; Deputy Director, International Economic Relations; Executive Assistant to the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs; Deputy Director, HR Strategy Implementation Secretariat; Director, HR Policy; and Director, Japan Division. He is currently Director General, Consular Affairs Bureau. Mr. Desjardins and his wife, Beverley Lum, have a son, Maximilian, and a daughter Jasmine. Robert Desjardins succeeds Peter Sutherland.

Dale Eisler (BA [Political Science], University of Saskatchewan, Regina Campus, 1970; MA [Political Science], Vermont College, Union Institute & University, 2004). Prior to joining the Public Service, Mr. Eisler had an extensive career in journalism, including daily newspapers, weekly newsmagazines, syndicated opinion columns, radio and television. He was also a sessional lecturer in journalism at the University of Regina. In addition, Mr. Eisler was involved, at an ownership level, in private business for 13 years. In 1998, he was appointed Assistant Deputy Minister for Consultations and Communications with the Department of Finance, and he joined the Privy Council Office as Assistant Secretary to Cabinet (Communications and Consultations) in 2004. In 2006, Mr. Eisler was the recipient of the Saskatchewan Commemorative Medal in recognition of his contributions to the province and society. He is the author of two books, most recently False Expectations: Politics and the Pursuit of the Saskatchewan Myth, published by the University of Regina in 2006. Dale Eisler succeeds Michael Fine.

Sigrid Johnson (BSc [Geography], Trent University, 1983) joined the Department of External Affairs and International Trade in 1990 and has served abroad in Stockholm, Abidjan and Washington. At headquarters she has served on the South Africa Task Force; in the Environmental Affairs Division; in the Bureau for Central and Eastern Europe; in the Resource Planning and Management Secretariat; and in the Policy Planning Secretariat. From 2001 to 2004, she served as Foreign Policy Advisor, Foreign and Defence Policy Secretariat, with the Privy Council Office. Prior to joining External Affairs, Ms. Johnson worked as a Parks and Wildlife officer in Malawi for three years, and as an instructor in the Environmental Technology Program of Nunavut Arctic College, based in Iqaluit. She is currently Counsellor and Head of Section, Environment and Fisheries, at the Embassy of Canada to the United States of America, in Washington. Ms. Johnson is married to Donald McMaster. They have three children, Alex, Andrew and Erica. Sigrid Johnson succeeds Jean-Pierre Bolduc.

I. David Marshall (Certified General Accountant of Ontario—CGA) served in various senior executive roles from 1977 to 1993, consecutively as Assistant Auditor General for Canada; Assistant Deputy Minister of Information Technology at Revenue Canada, Customs and Excise; and Assistant Deputy Minister of Information Technology at Employment and Immigration Canada. From 1993 to 2002, Mr. Marshall served in the private sector as Executive Vice-President and Chief Information Officer, Unitel Communications Inc.; Executive Vice-President and Chief Information Officer, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce; Executive Vice-President and Managing Director, Bankers Trust New York Corporation; and Vice-Chairman, Retail Products Technology and Operations, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce. In 2003, he re-entered public service to act as Deputy Minister of Public Works and Government Services Canada. He left Public Works in May of 2007 and was subsequently appointed Senior Advisor to the Privy Council Office. David Marshall succeeds Michael Welsh.

Malcolm McKechnie (BA, Honours, York University, 1967; graduate studies, University of Toulouse, 1970-71) joined the Department of External Affairs in 1971 and served abroad in Mexico; Paris; New York; Los Angeles; Washington, D.C.; Rome, where he was Minister-Counsellor from 1998 to 2002; and Atlanta, where he was Consul General from 2003 to 2005. In 1976-77, he attended l’École nationale d’administration in Paris. In Ottawa, he held a number of positions including Director, United States Transboundary Division; Director, Media Relations Division; and Director General, Communications Bureau. Since 2005 he has served as Chief of Protocol. Malcolm McKechnie succeeds Marc Lortie.

Guillermo Rishchynski (BA, McGill University, 1975) was Regional Marketing Manager, Latin America, for Interimco International before joining the Department of External Affairs and International Trade in 1983. Since joining the department as an Assistant Trade Commissioner, he has served abroad in Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, Amman, Melbourne, Jakarta, Chicago and, from 1999 to 2002, as Canada’s Ambassador to Colombia, in Bogota. In Ottawa, he has served the department as Deputy Director, Latin America and Caribbean Trade Division, and Director, Team Canada Task Force. Mr. Rishchynski joined the Canadian International Development Agency in 2003, serving as Vice-President of the Americas Branch, until his appointment as Ambassador to Brazil in 2005. He is married to Jeanette Portillo Tinoco and they have two children. Guillermo Rishchynski succeeds Gaëtan Lavertu.

Renata Elisabeth Wielgosz (PhD [Political Science] York University, 1985) joined the Department of External Affairs in August of 1982 as a career Foreign Service officer in the political/economic stream and has since served abroad at the Canadian Mission to the United Nations in New York; in New Delhi; in Prague; and at the Canadian Mission to the Organization of American States in Washington. In Ottawa, Ms. Wielgosz has served as Desk Officer first for the U.S.S.R., and subsequently for Poland, Czechoslovakia and East Germany in the U.S.S.R. and Eastern Europe Relations Division; as Departmental Officer in the Office of the Minister of External Affairs (twice); as Departmental Officer in the Management Secretariat; as Desk Officer for Multilateral Energy Issues in the Energy and Environment Division; as Deputy Director of the South America and Inter-American Affairs Division; and as Director of the Inter-American Affairs Division. She currently serves as Ambassador to Venezuela, in Caracas. Renata Elisabeth Wielgosz succeeds Philip Somerville.