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Minister John Baird Embarrassed in Amman Jordan by questions related to Canadian domestic and international policy PDF Print E-mail
Justice News
Written by Joan Russow
Sunday, 31 March 2013 21:08

BY Joan Russow PEJ News -  Amman, Jordan April 1 2013


After meeting with AbdullahII ibn Al-Hussein, King of Jordan, the Canadian Foreign Minister, John Baird held a press conference.


A reporter from the Jordan Times asked Minister John Baird if Canada was governed by a coalition government.  Baird  explained that there was not a tradition of coalition governments in Canada, and that the Harper Conservatives, with  38% of the national vote, had elected the majority of seats in Parliament, and now have  a stable majority. The  reporter asked a supplemental question for clarification because he thought that he had  misunderstood Minister Baird. He asked: “How is it possible that you could have a majority government with only 38 % of the popular vote?” Baird was taken aback because he was not prepared for questions about Canada’s quirky Westminster electoral system; he had come to discuss Syria and increase trade with Jordan


This response provoked a question from a reporter from AD-Dustour to ask about Canada’s being under the rule of the Queen of England and about the role of the Governor General. Baird  pointed out that the Governor General is appointed by the Prime Minister, with the approval of the Queen of England, and he or she has three roles: to summon Parliament; to dissolve  or prorogue parliament; and to suspend  members of Parliament for sufficient cause. Generally, he added,  the Governor General, supports  requests of the Prime Minister; rarely has the Governor General not acceded to a Prime Minister’s requests. For example, in 2008, Prime Minister Harper  had a minority  government with  34% of seats in Parliament with the opposition holding 66% of the seats. Prime Minister Harper claimed that parliament had become dysfunctional because it was being slowed down with frivolous votes on motions by the opposition parties; the opposition parties, in a vote in Parliament, had even advocated strong measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and to fulfill the obligations under the Framework Convention on Climate Change, and its Protocol - the Kyoto Protocol. Prime Minister Harper explained that Canada’s economy would collapse if Canada seriously addressed the issue of climate change. He pointed out that the oil sands would have to be closed down, pipelines, to not be built, and tankers not transferring Canadian oil to key foreign markets. Prime Minister Harper  then stepped down, went to the Governor General, and requested the dissolution of Parliament. While under Canadian Protocol, the Governor General could have called on the opposition  parties  to form a coalition government, the Governor General  decided, at Prime Minister’s request, to allow for the dissolution of Parliament and for a General Election.


A reporter from Efranews followed up on the Kyoto Protocol, and asked about the  issue of Canada’s withdrawal from the Kyoto protocol,  and thus Canada’s failure to seriously address the issue of clmate change and how, at the Conference of the Parties in Copenhagen, Canada had pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by only about 3% below 1990 level while the EU had agreed to 20% and was willing to go further to 30% if other developed states would follow.

A reporter from The Jordan Star, then raised the issue of Canada being the only country at the UN to withdraw from the Convention on Combatting Desertification – a major issue in parts of the Middle East; he then asked about the process in Canada vis-a-vis international agreements. Baird  responded that it was not necessary for international issues to be brought to Parliament; under the Canadian Constitution the Prime Minister could determine whether to sign or ratify or withdraw from international instruments. Baird explained that, in Canada, in order to sign and ratify an international, covenant, convention, treaty, all that was required was consent by the Prime Minister and cabinet, which The Prime Minister appoints from the elected members in  the Prime Minister’s Party.


A reporter from Petra-Jordanian News Agency raised a concern about Canada’s refusal to adopt the UN Declaration on a nuclear arms free Middle East. And about Canada’s double standard in condoning Israel’s possession of nuclear weapons while condemning Iran for possibly developing nuclear Weapons, Baird responded that Israel was a democracy whereas Iran was not.


An unidentified reporter suggested that Canada sounded more like an autocracy  than a democracy


At this point Minister Baird indicated that the Press Conference was over.



  1. . Now that April Fools is over - will you now admit that this was a fictional story?



I asked 's intrepid . : The PEJ thing is like wildfire. How do you know it's a hoax?

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While the actual press conference did not take place, everything that was stated about the Harper government, the office of the Governor General and international policy is true


I could have added how in 2011 at the New York Prep Com in for the Least developed countries, the Harper government ignored the pleas made by the spokesperson for the Least developed countries


 I could have expanded on the fact that the Harper government has constantly obstructed international conferences including the Rio+20  conference where, for example, the Harper government  opposed any language related to the precautionary principle or ending subsidies for the fossil fuel industry


Or how the Harper government describes the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as being only aspirational, and interprets Art. 19  which includes; the expression “fair prior informed consent”as being nothing more  than “consultation”


Or how the Harper government  has violated he Convention on refugees by distinguishing between ‘safe and unsafe” states when there is to be no discrimination on the grounds of country of origin


Or how the Harper government ignored the obligation under the UN Convention on the Law of the Seas and its agreement on protecting fish habitat; ,when a statutory act like the Fisheries Act impedes the expansion of the Tar sands, the article that protects fish habitat is gutted.


Or how the Harper government, by transferring prisoners in Afghanistan, was complicit in violating the Convention against Torture


Or how Harper misrepresented the cost of major government purchases, such as the F35 fighter planes


Or even how the Harper government came to power because of its 2006 fraudulent in and out funding  scheme used in the election


Or how the Harper government has been muzzling scientists or even intimidating librarians and archivists.


While the 2006 reference is too local for an internal press conference, the muzzling issue has even been reported internationally



Perhaps next it will be anyone who uses April Fool’s day to communicate internationally what is happening in Canada government 










Last Updated on Wednesday, 03 April 2013 18:49

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