Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); }

Maldives President Mohamed Waheed, shown in August, 2012, alleges that Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird made ‘inappropriate and derogatory remarks’ and ‘posed several harshly worded questions’ to his acting foreign minister at a recent UN summit in New York.

DINUKA LIYANAWATTE/REUTERS

Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird is in hot water with the Maldives.

Maldives President Mohamed Waheed wrote to Prime Minister Stephen Harper to complain about Baird's conduct during recent Commonwealth meetings in New York.

In a statement posted on the Maldives president's website, Waheed alleges Baird made "inappropriate and derogatory remarks" and "posed several harshly worded questions" to his acting foreign minister.

Story continues below advertisement

The remarks pertained to "domestic politics in the Maldives," according to the statement, but Baird's exact words remain unclear.

Baird's office says the minister raised concerns about the first round of voting in the Maldives' presidential election, which the country's highest court on Monday declared was flawed, as well as reports of violence and intimidation.

Still, Baird's conduct has "put unnecessary pressure on an otherwise excellent relationship" between Canada and the small island nation in the Indian Ocean, the Maldives statement said.

Waheed alleges the comments were made during a meeting of Commonwealth foreign ministers on the sidelines of last month's United Nations general assembly.

An official with the Maldives embassy in New York, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly, said Baird's comments contained a "personal bias."

"The President was concerned by an expression and an admission of personal bias by the honourable minister, detriment to our bilateral relationship and contrary to the high esteem to which we hold the Canadian government and people."

Baird's office was not shying away from the controversy Monday. Spokesman Rick Roth said the minister was voicing concerns about the delay of the Maldives' runoff election and reports of violence and intimidation.

Story continues below advertisement

"He also pointed out the irony of the acting foreign minister of the Maldives representing that country at [the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group], when her president received 5 per cent of the vote in the first round of the election," Roth said in an e-mail.

"Perhaps that is where President Waheed took offence."

Roth also said Baird "pointed out to [action group] members that the second round of elections have been 'suspended' under mysterious circumstances and called on Maldivian officials to proceed with the second round of elections without delay."

The Supreme Court of the Maldives on Monday annulled the results of the first round of voting in the country's presidential election, saying thousands of votes cast last month were tainted.

Roth also noted it is not the first time Baird has raised concerns about the Maldives.

"The minister believes that countries within the Commonwealth should adhere to a certain standard of values and principles, which is clearly lacking in the Maldives," he wrote.

Story continues below advertisement

Harper, who is in Southeast Asia this week for the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation meeting, on Monday adopted a similar tone toward Sri Lanka over its ongoing human rights abuses.

The Prime Minister said he plans to boycott next month's Commonwealth summit in Sri Lanka, and he threatened to cut the roughly $20-million Canada gives each year to various Commonwealth initiatives.

With a report from Associated Press

Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies