Malcolm McKechnie, Canada's former ambassador to Spain, says he did not intentionally withhold information regarding burglaries at residence in Madrid.
Malcolm McKechnie, left, seen in Ottawa in 2006 with Australia's then-Prime Minister John Howard and Prime Minister Stephen Harper, says he did not intentionally withhold information from the Foreign Affairs department.
During one robbery, Malcolm McKechnie
pretended to sleep as three robbers ransacked his
bedroom and stole $500.
In an email debriefing to Ottawa, McKechnie
neglected to mention that the residence was in one of Madrids safest neighbourhoods.
told The Star
was never disciplined and did not intentionally withhold information from the department.
Whether the neighbourhood was deemed to be safe or not by whomever, it doesnt change the fact that the (official residence) was broken into twice in one year, the second time by three armed robbers who spent 18 minutes in the place, including my bedroom, McKechnie
wrote in an email to The Star
has independently verified the identity of McKechnie
and one other diplomat; the identities of the others remain unknown.
After the second burglary in a year at the ambassadors residence in Madrid the first robbery occurred before McKechnies arrival in Spain in November 2007 improvements to the security system were made, although an email from embassy staff alleges that Foreign Affairs did not respond to three requests for additional security.
On Nov. 16, 2009, Foreign Affairs values and ethics adviser Claude Chartrand wrapped up an investigation into McKechnie and his stewardship of the Canadian mission in Madrid.
The investigation concluded that, even after the second break-in, security was not an acceptable reason to move and that McKechnie
must return to the residence.
argued the departments security detail had been negligent because they failed to tell him when he
arrived in Madrid that there had been a break-in at the residence.
After that robbery, security was hired but the guard was released after McKechnies arrival.
The staffers accused McKechnie
of, among other things, inappropriately borrowing 500 euros from his
driver to buy tickets to a bullfight for friends and of making sexist comments.
Several of the complaints focused on a staff BBQ held in July 2008 at the official residence, when McKechnie allegedly asked a young intern to stay for a swim and to attend a Paul Anka concert with him.
(McKechnie) stated that he
noticed toward the end (of the party) when people were leaving that (name redacted) was still sitting beside the pool, Chartrands report said.
said that he
didnt want to kick her
out, so he
could stay longer if she
wished and that he
would give her
a ride into the city later as he
was going to a concert . . .
McKechnie denied he invited the intern to the concert.
refutes the allegations.
At no time was there any inappropriate behaviour on my part with any embassy employee, McKechnie
wrote in an email to The Star
I found the reference to sexist comments particularly galling since it is simply not my style.
I have worked with many female colleagues and bosses over a long career and always respected them and got along well with them.
was never disciplined for any of the accusations against him, although Foreign Affairs officials decided to withdraw an offer for him to work temporarily in the Canadian embassy in Rome.