Wilkins may be new U.S. ambassador to Canada (May 02, 2005)

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WASHINGTON, D.C. — David Wilkins, a close friend of U.S. President George Bush, is likely to replace outgoing Paul Cellucci as U.S. ambassador to Canada.

According to the U.S. embassy here in Toronto, Bush named Wilkins, but Wilkins has yet to be confirmed ambassador by the U.S. Senate. Inside sources say, however, that Washington has officially asked Ottawa to give its blessing.

Wilkins is a longtime Bush family friend and top Republican fundraiser.

The 58-year-old lawyer would replace the outspoken Paul Cellucci, who retired earlier this year.

Wilkins is the Speaker of the state Legislature in South Carolina and is described as a fiscal and social conservative. He also led the 2004 South Carolina re-election campaign for Bush.

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