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Freeland announces new Canadian consul general posts

Former NDP MP Joe Comartin and entertainment industry leader Zaib Shaikh new diplomats

Oct 23


Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland has filled two new senior diplomatic posts to lead the Canadian consulates in Detroit and Los Angeles. Former New Democrat MP Joe Comartin is the new consul general for Detroit, while Zaib Shaikh, who has worked on both sides of the camera in the Canadian entertainment industry, is heading to Los Angeles to serve as Canada's top diplomat in the heart of the American cultural industry.

Comartin represented a Windsor, Ont. riding for 15 years. Although he was first hesitant to accept the job, he said a major reason that pushed him to take it is that it's a "crucial period of time" for the auto industry.

He said his "long-term" connection with the auto industry and Unifor will help him facilitate growth in the industry now that the new free trade agreement has been reached.

"There's no question that there's a real potential for the auto industry to expand," said Comartin.

Further, other reasons include the Gordie Howe International Bridge coming and also marijuana legalization happening in Canada.

His new office is in Detroit, but he said he will also be responsible for Michigan, Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky.

Meanwhile, Shaikh was most recently the film commissioner and director of entertainment industries for the City of Toronto. He's also worked as a producer and director as well as an actor, with roles in Deepa Mehta's film, "Midnight's Children," and television show "Little Mosque on the Prairie."

A government official says Comartin's post has a salary range of $125,900 to $148,100 while Shaikh's job comes with a range of $140,900 to $165,700.