Premier Jason Kenney has appointed former Member of Parliament and business executive James Rajotte to lead Alberta’s office in Washington, effective May 1. Rajotte’s primary responsibility will be to bring Alberta’s voice to policy makers at both the national and state levels, as we explore North American energy security and deal collaboratively with threats to our markets from overseas.
“The crisis in our energy industry underscores the need for Alberta to have strong relations with policy makers and business leaders in the United States. Alberta exports to the U.S. a total of more than $100 billion, nearly 90 per cent of Alberta’s exports to the world. It’s central that we have a strong voice to represent Alberta’s vital economic interests in Washington, D.C. James Rajotte will fill that role perfectly. As chairman of the House of Commons Finance Committee during the global financial crisis, he has first-hand experience dealing with a crisis like the one we are in. Mr. Rajotte has deep and long-standing connections in the U.S. Congress and a tremendous understanding of the critical issues Alberta is facing.”
In addition to advancing the idea of a North American energy strategy, Rajotte will play a vital advocacy role in the post-COVID-19 recovery period, while seeking opportunities to facilitate investment, bilateral trade, and strengthening relations. The senior representative reports to the Ministry of Economic Development, Trade and Tourism.
“We must build stronger ties between Alberta and the U.S. following the pandemic. Our economic and supply chain integration is broad and deep, crossing nearly every sector – most notably agriculture and energy – and generates employment for millions of workers on both sides of the border. James is the right person for that role.”
“I am honoured to have been chosen by Premier Kenney to take on this important assignment during these challenging times. More than ever, I see this as an opportunity to advance Alberta’s long-standing relationship with the U.S. to decision makers, both at the national and state level. I look forward to representing our province in Washington, D.C.”
“I have known James for many years. I had the pleasure of working with him on behalf of Edmontonians and Albertans when we both served as MPs. Although we come from different political parties, I can say that James never let partisanship get in the way of working with others on behalf of all Canadians. He will be an effective, hard-working representative for Alberta’s interests in the United States.”
“I know I speak for our members when I say that we are delighted with the choice of James Rajotte for Alberta’s representative in Washington, DC. We have known and worked with James for years during his time as a Canadian member of Parliament, and can personally attest to his leadership and political savvy, qualities he will need for this new assignment. We look forward to welcoming James in Washington and working together on the key issues that face Alberta in the United States.”
“For 15 years, over five terms as a member of Parliament from Alberta, James Rajotte earned a sterling reputation across all party lines for his policy acumen, decency, and ability to work with others towards a shared goal. Creating Alberta jobs through trade with the United States under our renewed free trade agreement will be an essential part of Alberta’s economic renewal. James Rajotte is an outstanding representative for Alberta, and Canada, in Washington. He will, as he always has, work hard and deliver results for Alberta.”
“In the years I have worked with James, he has gained my respect and trust. I have always appreciated his honesty and his sense of ethics, a rare combination in federal politics.”
Since 2004, Alberta’s presence in the U.S. capital has advanced Alberta’s shared economic objectives with U.S. decision makers. Alberta's envoys to the U.S. have managed this important relationship from the Alberta Washington D.C. Office, which is co-located within the Canadian embassy. Alberta’s senior representative will receive a biweekly salary of $9,634.85.
Biography for James Rajotte
Born and raised in Edmonton, James Rajotte holds BA and MA degrees from the University of Alberta. He has worked for several years as the vice-president at Rogers Communications, responsible for provincial and municipal government affairs across Canada.
He has served in a volunteer capacity on the Board of Governors of the University of Alberta, and on the Board of Directors of the Alberta Enterprise Group, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, Imagine Canada, and the Wood Buffalo Economic Development Corporation.
As a member of the House of Commons for 15 years, he served as the member of Parliament for Edmonton-Southwest in 2000 and as the member of Parliament for Edmonton-Leduc from 2004 to 2015.
During his tenure with the federal government, he was on a number of federal standing committees:
- Chair of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance (2008-2015)
- Chair of the House of Commons Committee on Industry Science and Technology (2006-2008)
- Chair of the Canada-United Kingdom Inter-parliamentary Association
- Vice-Chair of the Canada-United States Inter-parliamentary Group