James Trottier is a Fellow of the Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI), a lawyer, an international affairs consultant and a former career Canadian diplomat. From 2013 to 2016, he directed Political, Economic and Public Affairs at the Canadian Embassy in South Korea with a cross-accreditation to North Korea where he led four diplomatic delegations in 2015 and 2016 (the first Canadian diplomatic missions to North Korea since 2010). He also served as Canadian Embassy Liaison to US Forces Korea and UN Command, co-hosted with the US Embassy the annual North Korea Watchers Conference attended by diplomatic, military and intelligence experts and led the Canadian Delegation. Mr.Trottier played a lead role in securing the timely South Korean ratification of the Canada-Korea Free Trade Agreement and in organizing the exchange of official visits by the Prime Minister of Canada and the President of South Korea; he was the lead Canadian negotiator of the Joint Statement/Joint Declaration for each visit.
Since leaving Global Affairs Canada in 2016, he has continued his engagement on North Korean and Korean Peninsula security issues as a consultant to the Government of Canada and like-minded Embassies and as an analyst, speaker and contributor to think tanks, academic journals and foreign policy forums. He has been an invited speaker and panelist at many high level conferences, including as an expert panelist at conferences of international experts on North Korea organized in Seoul, South Korea by the Institute for National Security Strategy (INSS) with the cooperation and assistance of the Government of South Korea which regularly turns to the INSS for advice regarding North Korea and as a sounding board for possible initiatives by South Korea regarding North Korea.
Mr. Trottier has written extensively on North Korea and US, Canadian and international policy for print media and his work has appeared in the Globe and Mail, Ottawa Citizen, Montreal Gazette, The Province (Vancouver) and numerous other publications in Canada and abroad. He has appeared frequently on electronic media including CBC TV (The National, Power and Politics, Carole MacNeil News Show), CBC Radio (The House, The World at Six, numerous regional CBC outlets), CTV, Global, SiriusXM and other stations. His analysis and commentary are regularly cited in think tank and other foreign policy publications and sites.
Mr. Trottier also served in other senior diplomatic posts, including as Political/Economic Counsellor at the Canadian Embassy in Bangkok (with concurrent accreditation to Laos and to Myanmar as Chargé d'affaires and Political Counsellor when he met regularly with then-Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi as well as Ministers and senior government officials). He was the Political/Economic Counsellor at the Canadian Embassy in Manila and for four years served at Canada's Permanent Mission to the UN in New York where he was the lead for Canada on global human rights issues and also the acting Legal Adviser to the Canadian Chair of the Iraq Sanctions Committee of the UN Security Council. He was a lead negotiator for Canada of the 1993 Vienna Declaration on Human Rights.
He held various headquarters positions at Global Affairs Canada dealing with multilateral issues (UN and EU) as well as bilateral relations with Asia, Europe and the United States. From 2003 to 2007 he served as the Senior Political Adviser for political relations with the European Union (EU) and Senior Coordinator for the annual Canada-EU Summit between Canada’s Prime Minister and EU leaders; in that capacity he planned, organized and participated in four Canada-EU Summits as well as numerous other high level meetings and was a lead negotiator for the Summit declarations. From 1994 to 1996, he was the lead at Global Affairs Canada for environmental relations with the US.
From 1985 to 1987, Mr.Trottier served as Legal Adviser and External Affairs Liaison Officer to the Refugee Status Advisory Committee (RSAC), the government committee then responsible for determining refugee claims from within Canada.
Mr. Trottier graduated with a law degree (JD) from Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto and was called to the bar in Toronto. He worked in a major civil litigation law firm in Toronto before joining the Department of External Affairs (now Global Affairs Canada) as a Foreign Service Officer in 1982. In addition to his JD in law, he has an LL.M. in International Law (University of Ottawa), a M.A. in Modern History (University of Toronto) and a B.A (University of Manitoba).