New kids roll up their sleeves

Selinger gets new digs; Doer meets U.S. envoy


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Gary Doer couldn't wait to get started in his new job as Canada's ambassador to the United States.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 19/10/2009 (4735 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Gary Doer couldn’t wait to get started in his new job as Canada’s ambassador to the United States.

So on Sunday, he hitched a train ride across Manitoba with David Jacobson, the American ambassador to Canada.

Chicago lawyer Jacobson, newly appointed by President Barack Obama, just happened to be on the Manitoba portion of his cross-Canada train trip to get to know the country better.

"It came up in the last week. It was suggested (that since) the U.S. ambassador was coming across country, I should meet with him," said Doer, disembarking in Winnipeg at about 7 p.m. Sunday.

Doer didn’t officially become ambassador until five hours later, at midnight. He flies to his new job in Washington today.

Doer said the train trip was "excellent."

"We had a nice enjoyable dinner. We talked as new ambassadors," he said.

Jacobson disembarked in Winnipeg on Sunday night, too. "The trip was great. It was beautiful," Jacobson said. "It was a real good opportunity for me to see Manitoba from the ground level."

As for his new seatmate on the last leg of his trip, Jacobson said he’d received "an honour for the premier to spend his last day in the job with me."

Jacobson offered no surprises about the content of their conversation. "We talked about the full range of issues: trade, border, national security issues," he said. "Mostly, we spent time trying to get to know each other."

Doer said he briefed Jacobson on how many Manitobans play on the National Hockey League’s Chicago Blackhawks, including Jonathan Toews and Cam Barker of Winnipeg. Jacobson allowed that they talked about "a lot of football," hockey, "and my beloved Chicago Cubs."

Doer flew out Sunday afternoon to catch up with Jacobson at about 4 p.m. at the restored historic train station in Rivers, 230 kilometres northwest of Winnipeg. Jacobson was travelling on the Via Train, The Canadian, which started the journey in Vancouver.

Meanwhile, Doer’s successor as premier of Manitoba, Greg Selinger, checked out his new digs Sunday morning, also a day before he takes over the office. Doer was on hand to turn over the keys.

The two men held a photo opportunity Sunday at the premier’s office, Room 204 of the legislature, a place Doer had occupied since 1999. Then Selinger took his family to the Blue Bombers football game.

Selinger will be sworn in as premier today. He defeated Steve Ashton 1,317 to 685 in delegate balloting for the provincial NDP leadership on Saturday.

"They’re all yours now," Doer told Selinger, referring to the dozen reporters and photographers present, as the two made small talk in the stately office for the benefit of the media.

"You deserve it and you’ll do a great job," Doer told Selinger.

Turning to reporters, Doer added: "The minister has been in this office before," referring to Selinger’s decade as finance minister.

"We work well together and he knows the issues better than anybody."

Larry Kusch

Larry Kusch
Legislature reporter

Larry Kusch didn’t know what he wanted to do with his life until he attended a high school newspaper editor’s workshop in Regina in the summer of 1969 and listened to a university student speak glowingly about the journalism program at Carleton University in Ottawa.

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