SAGUENAY, Que. — Foreign Affairs Minister Stéphane Dion says he has no interest in being Canada's next ambassador to France, addressing rumours circulating in his department and in Ottawa circles that he will be shuffled out of cabinet in the next year and given a plum diplomatic post.
"Me? I've never heard of the thing," Dion said, looking genuinely bewildered. "I'm very happy to be minister of foreign affairs."
He didn't rule out a future appointment but said he had "never thought at all" about such things.
Stephane Dion speaks at a press conference at Tahrir Palace in Cairo, Egypt on May 25, 2016. (Photo: Amr Nabil/AP via CP)
"Being foreign affairs minister of Canada is an immense privilege and a very heavy responsibility that I assume fully and with lots of enthusiasm," he said.
Dion was shuffled out of his position chairing a cabinet committee on climate change this month, leading to more speculation. On Monday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's office announced changes to the cabinet committee structures. It was noticeable that Dion, a senior minister and former party leader, did not head any cabinet committees related to his portfolio.
Cabinet committees on Canada-U.S. relations, Intelligence and Emergency Management, Defence Procurement, and Canada in the World and Public Security are all led by other ministers, including rookie ministers.
Ex-Tory MP holds prestigious post
Canada's ambassador to France is Lawrence Cannon, a former Conservative cabinet minister. Cannon was appointed to the job four years ago by former prime minister Stephen Harper.
This summer, Trudeau extended Cannon's term by one year, while he dumped other Conservative political appointees in places such as Israel, the United Kingdom and Jordan, where Harper had appointed the former head of his personal security detail, Bruno Saccomani.