Queen portrait decree draws ire in Canada
A Canadian government decree that the Queen's portrait be displayed in all embassies and missions abroad triggered an angry response Friday from a former diplomat and an opposition lawmaker.
"This decision is retrograde and anachronistic," said Paul Heinbecker, Canada's erstwhile ambassador to the United Nations. "After 60 years of emancipation, this is a step back for our country," he added.
On Wednesday, Foreign Minister John Baird's office confirmed that all of its diplomatic missions had been told to raise a portrait of the Queen, given that she is Canada's head of state.
The move was largely seen as a sign of ever better ties with Britain after the success of Prince William and his wife Catherine's first official overseas trip which saw them feted by the Canadian public in late June and early July.
The duke and duchess of Cambridge paddled in a canoe in the far north, shared the grief of thousands displaced by forest fires in Alberta and snuggled in a rustic wooden cabin in the Rockies. Their only bad experience came from a few republican protestors in the French-speaking province of Quebec.
The decision to hang the Queen's portrait abroad also angered Paul Dewar, a lawmaker from the New Democratic Party (NDP), which tripled its seats and came second only to the ruling Conservatives in elections this year.
"We don't have a minister of foreign affairs, we have a minister of interior decorating," Dewar said, noting that other Commonwealth countries such as Australia and New Zealand do not impose such a decree.
© 2011 AFP