Canada picks fights with the Maldives and Sri Lanka

The big news: Meanwhile, Brazil is furious about alleged Canadian espionage

“Mr. Baird posed several harshly worded questions as well as derogatory and inappropriate remarks to the Acting Foreign Minister concerning domestic politics in the Maldives.” —Mohamed Waheed, president of the Maldives, in a statement

No one really likes it when someone else is angry with them. The world would be a happier place if everyone got together and eradicated anger. That remains the dream of the Kumbaya set, and so it should be. Stephen Harper and John Baird are certainly not helping to create that global happy place. They’re making people angry. They probably don’t like to do that.

The Maldives has a bone to pick with John Baird, Canada’s foreign minister, because he made some allegedly “derogatory and inappropriate remarks” to his counterpart from the island nation. Mohamed Waheed, the president of the Maldives, complained about the apparent incident in a letter to Harper. Rick Roth, Baird’s spokesman, was only too happy to speculate about Waheed’s anger.

Roth outlined a laundry list of complaints related to Maldivian democracy, and recalled that Baird had aired such complaints publicly. The spokesman’s tone resembled passive aggression, and more than that, confidence. On this, these Conservatives won’t back down.

Meanwhile, Harper’s decided to boycott an upcoming meeting of Commonwealth nations in Sri Lanka. “Canada is deeply concerned about the situation in Sri Lanka,” the PM said in a release. “The absence of accountability for the serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian standards during and after the civil war is unacceptable.”

Maybe that’s a good idea, maybe that’s a bad idea. Harper’s not triggering a revolt among his fellow heads of state. But, for his part, the PM is deferring to the Canadian people. “The feedback we’ve had from Canadians has been absolutely overwhelming that they would not expect the prime minister of Canada to attend such an summit.”

There you have it. John Baird and Stephen Harper, unapologetic crusaders for democracy and human rights on the world stage. Now, if only they could spin their way out of Canadians allegedly spying on Brazil, the confident Conservatives might look like they’re on top of things.


What’s above the fold

The Globe and Mail Brazil is angry with Canada for engaging in a “cyberwar.”
National Post Canada lacks the motive to spy on Brazil.
Toronto Star Rob Ford‘s friend tried to exchange drugs for a cell phone.
Ottawa Citizen The Defence Department wants to cut costs by $1.2 billion a year.
CBC News Stephen Harper says Canadian officials are working with angry Brazilians.
CTV News Brazil summoned the Canadian ambassador to express its “indignation.”
National Newswatch The Harper government faces many distractions when Parliament returns.

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