Gitane De Silva, a professional diplomat, has been named Alberta’s senior representative to the United States of America.
She will head up the province’s office in Washington, DC, which is charged with promoting Alberta’s economic and policy interests in key areas, including energy, environment and agriculture.
“Ms. De Silva has the skill set to represent Alberta’s interests in the United States. Her deep knowledge of our province and her many years of experience working in the United States as a professional diplomat will serve Alberta well.”
Rachel Notley, Premier
De Silva has served as Alberta’s Deputy Minister of International and Intergovernmental Relations since 2013. She previously worked in Canada’s Foreign Service for more than a decade, specializing in Canada-U.S. relations.
She has held various posts in the U.S. including serving as Consul General of Canada in Chicago and head of the Environment and Fisheries section at the Canadian Embassy in Washington. She has also served as director of Canada-U.S. Advocacy and Mission Liaison and director of U.S. Transboundary Affairs at Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada in Ottawa.
“I look forward to working with her on key files, including reducing barriers to trade, such as Country of Origin Labeling, promoting Alberta as an investment destination and demonstrating Alberta’s commitment to addressing and taking meaningful action on climate change.”
Deron Bilous, Minister of Economic Development and Trade
De Silva replaces Rob Merrifield, whose term expired in September. Her appointment is effective January 1, 2016.
Before moving home to Alberta, Ms. De Silva served for 12 years in Canada’s Foreign Service, where she specialized in Canada-U.S. issues. She held several roles at Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada (DFATD), including Director, Canada-U.S. Advocacy and Mission Liaison, and director, U.S. Transboundary Affairs. She also served as Counsellor (Environment & Fisheries) at the Canadian Embassy in Washington, D.C. and in the Canada-U.S. Secretariat at the Privy Council Office.
Ms. De Silva was most recently Consul General of Canada in Chicago. As Canada’s representative in Illinois, Wisconsin and Missouri, she worked to advance Canada’s political and economic interests, including trade and investment promotion.
Ms. De Silva also served as Deputy Head of Agency at Status of Women Canada and Director General, APEC Women and the Economy Summit at DFATD, where she worked on women’s economic empowerment and women in leadership. She holds a B.A. (International Relations) from the University of British Columbia.