The Honourable Lawrence Cannon was appointed ambassador of Canada to France by the Right Honourable Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada on May 20th, 2012. He presented his letters of credence October 26th 2012 to the French Republic President, François Hollande and on October 30th to H.S.H Prince Albert II of Monaco. Prior to this appointment, Mr. Cannon was an influential member of the Stephen Harper Cabinet, serving from 2008 to 2011 as Canada's Minister of Foreign Affairs.
As head of the Canadian diplomatic corps, Mr.Cannon represented Canada's interests on the world stage, particularly with the member nations of the European Community. During his tenure, he led the coordination of Canada's emergency assistance measures to the people of Haïti, following the disastrous earthquake of 2010, the warming of diplomatic relations between Canada and China, the preparation of the G8 and G20 summit meetings of 2010 in Canada following the economic crisis that shook the world, the improvement of diplomatic and trade relations with the United States of America, and participated in the transition of the Canadian Forces' combat mission in Afghanistan to a training mission of the Afghan troops. He also contributed to the implementation of Canada's new policy concerning the Arctic.
From 2006 to 2008, Mr. Cannon served as Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities and Minister responsible for Québec in the Government of Canada. As member of the Caucus of the Conservative Party of Canada, he sat in the House of Commons as Member of Par liame nt for the riding of Pontiac, Québec, and as Chair, Vice-Chair and Member of several committees (Afghanistan, Foreign Affairs and Defence, Priorities and Planning, Foreign Affairs and Security, Economic Growth and Long-term Prosperity, Environment and Energy Security and Economic Affairs and Operations).
Before running for office in the 2006 federal election, Lawrence Cannon had already made his mark, both as a Municipal Councillor, and Member of the Québec National Assembly. He was appointed personal secretary to Premier Robert Bourassa in 1971, serving in this position until 1976. He first served as Municipal Councillor for the Town of Cap-Rouge, a suburb of Québec City, from 1979 to 1985, when he ran for office as a Liberal candidate in the provincial riding of La Peltrie and was elected to the National Assembly of Québec. He was successively appointed Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of External Trade and Technological Development (1985-1988) and to the Minister of Tourism (1988-1989), also Deputy House Leader and Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly (1989-1990). He served as Minister of Communications of Québec from 1990 to 1994.
He resigned as Member of the National Assembly in 1994 and be came Vice-President of Government Affairs with Unitel, a telecommunications company and long distance telephone provider later known as AT&T Canada and Allstream, following which he formed Groupe Cannon Et Associates and worked as a consultant in communications and public affairs.
Returning to public life, Lawrence Cannon was elected Municipal Councillor for the new City of Gatineau in 2001. Serving until 2005, he was Chair of the Board of Directors of the Outaouais Regional Transit Commission (Société de transport de l'Outaouais) and served as President of the Québec Association of Urban Transit (Association du transport urbain du Québec). In 2005, he became Deputy Chief of Staff of the leader of the Conservative Party of Canada and Assistant Chief Executive Officer of the Conservative Party of Canada. He was then elected Member of Par lia ment for the riding of Pontiac (Québec) in 2006, a position he held until the federal election of May 2nd, 2011.
In early October 2011, he was appointed Chair and Senior member of the Gowling's Government Affairs Group in Ottawa. He also served on the Board of Directors of the Oceanic Iron Ore Corporation, active in the development of three Ungava Bay prop erties in the Nunavik region of Northern Québec. Mr. Cannon resigned from both these positions when he was appointed Ambassador of Canada to Paris.
In recognition of his service to the community, he was awarded the Prix des Grands diplômés de l'Université Laval, by the University Alumni Association in Québec City and was honoured as Personality of the Year 2011, by Tourisme Outaouais.
Mr. Cannon holds an M.B.A. from the Université Laval (Québec City) and a Bache lor's Degree from Loyola College in Montréal. Born December 6, 1947 in Québec City, he is married to Christine Donoghue and they have two children.
Canada-France: Prospects for a distinct relationship, speech by Lawrence Cannon, Ambassador of Canada to France, delivered at the the Montreal Council on Foreign Relations (CORIM) (Thursday October 3, 2013)