In the midst of rabid opposition, foreign Affairs minister John Baird has spent the day downplaying a Canadian/UK agreement to share embassies abroad.
On Sunday, the British press reported Britain and Canada will be establishing joint diplomatic missions and share embassy offices abroad.
"The aim is to expand the countries' diplomatic presence in places where either London or Ottawa does not already have an embassy," an article by BBC News noted.
"While money is one factor driving co-operation, this diplomatic link-up will also play well in euro-sceptic circles within the Conservative Party, where there is a good deal of unease at the expansion of the European Union's own diplomatic corps — the External Action Service."
But during question period in the House of Commons, Baird said the arrangement was small and administrative, and would, for example, give a British diplomat an office at the Canadian Embassy in Haiti, where Britain now has no presence.
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"Canada has a strong and independent foreign policy," Baird said, according to CBC News. "Canada will continue to have a made-in Canada foreign policy. One that is based on Canadian values and Canadian principles."
In an afternoon press conference with British foreign secretary William Hague, Baird added that the sharing of embassies is simply a cost-effective and practical move.
NDP foreign affairs critic Paul Dewar says that there are still a lot of questions that need to be answered.
"There's a lot of inconsistencies. I'm not sure they actually thought this through well," he said during his press conference.
"Clearly there are a lot of questions ... what exactly this means, how many places are we talking about ... what does this mean on the ground, who's going to be representing Canada, how do we deal with the obvious conflict of interest when we're trying to promote our trade interests and sometimes in competition with the UK, and you know, how is this exactly going to work."
The British reports drew an outcry from analysts, pundits and the public in Canada.
Paul Heinbecker, Canada's former ambassador to United Nations, told the Globe and Mail that the Tories are hurting Canada's "brand" abroad by allowing another country to represent it.
"Domestically, it does raise the question of reinforcing this kind of British veneer that we are putting on Canadian foreign policy," he said.
"We have an incompatible brand with the UK."
And former Canadian ambassador Louis Delvoie told CTV News in a statement that this is a "dumb idea."
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"There are many parts of the world where it's best not to be identified with Britain, such as in the Caribbean and Africa where Britain was a colonial power," he said.
"It can also be a threat — in some countries Britain isn't very popular. The British embassy in Iran was attacked last year — if it was a joint embassy, our Canadian diplomats would have been in danger."
Some also took to Twitter to ridicule the deal:
Canada to "merge" embassies with the British? Have i had a stroke? Rmbr the good ol days,5 minutes ago, when we were sovereign?#cdnpoli
— Rick Mercer (@rickmercer) September 24, 2012
Hey, CPC, why stop at embassies? Who needs the National Archives? We can save money by studying British history instead bit.ly/UsiXtV
— Noah Richler (@knowwhereyouare) September 24, 2012
If you think the outcry from a U.K./Canada embassy deal is bad, just imagine how bad it would be if Canada made this deal with the United States.