Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird has had a lifelong love affair with Britain, including naming his feline companion after the famous female British Prime Minister.
The West-Ottawa politician's long-standing devotion on the British monarchy went so far as banishing renowned Québec master Alfred Pellan's painting from his office building to replace it with a picture of his favourite monarch. Baird's Brit infatuation has devolved into clouded judgement on serious matter of foreign policy.
Minister Baird and British Foreign Secretary William Hague announced plans on Monday to merge British and Canadian embassies. To be precise, Minister Baird framed the suspicious measure as sharing. Reminiscent of the Napster file-sharing tool, the open exchange of diplomatic duties across international jurisdictions does not inspire confidence.
The idea, packaged and sold to Canadians as a cost-saving measure, flies in the face of common sense and gives off a hint of hypocrisy to a government saddled with billion dollar boondoggles in the form of G20 Summit and the never-ending money pit labeled the F-35 jets.
It seems PM Harper always finds funds for Britain. His Heritage Minister twisted the historical facts to defend spending of $28 million Canadian tax dollars to celebrate a 200-year old war between two foreign nations. You guessed it -- Britain was the victorious side of the War of 1812 with the U.S.
Stephen Harper found yet another way to shove the British Crown down our throats by sparing no taxpayer expense to multiply royal visits to Canada since he moved into 24 Sussex. Once rare royal visits have become annual splurges. A convenient excuse for Queen Elizabeth's rich children, grandchildren and "the help" to visit their subjects abroad; a free ride curtesy of the Canadian taxpayer.
PM Harper went so far as to cast away the dazzling Governor General Michaëlle Jean to China to allow his beloved monarch to shine her colonial might on a day that was meant to be dedicated to Canada and its citizens. Blighting Canada Day by placing an expensive spotlight persons who don't live in our country is a poor way to salute modern Canada.
Defense Minister Peter McKay became tongue-tied when omitting the cost incurred on the military budget by renaming the Canadian Armed Forces to salute its colonial past; a nod to the days when Canadian troops fought under the British flag, indistinguishable from foreign entities.
There are dark episodes when Canadian soldiers were used as pawns in colonial conquests in South Africa, to name just one, where rape and torture were used as weapons to subdue local populations of Sub-Saharan Africans. Adding "royal" to the Canadian military moniker came under fire from Québecers and Anglophone Canadians alike, who felt the Canadian-ness of the institution was being diminished unnecessarily.
Under the cloak called "saving space, resources and money," the Harper government is offering Canadian sovereignty on a silver platter to Britain with this new embassy-sharing proposal. Canadian diplomatic independence should never be abbreviated, abased or abandoned no matter what the cost.
Follow Rachel Décoste on Twitter: www.twitter.com/racheldecoste