Queen portrait decree draws ire in Canada

Last Updated: Saturday, September 10, 2011 - 12:05

Montreal: A Canadian government decree that the Queen`s portrait be displayed in all embassies and missions abroad triggered an angry response 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.

Bureau Report



First Published: Saturday, September 10, 2011 - 12:05

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