Jessica Murphy - March 20th, 2012
Iranians are celebrating Nowruz, the Iranian New Year.
U.S. President Barack Obama made a video message to mark the day – reportedly his fourth. But Obama also sends a message to the people of Iran – that its regime should lift the “electronic curtain” around Iran.
This year, Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird followed in Obama’s footsteps and filmed his own message. He went beyond wishing Iranians the best on Nowruz, and like Obama, spoke directly to the Iranian people and condemned their regime.
Still, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei didn’t appear impressed
You can watch the videos after the jump….
Jessica Murphy - February 3rd, 2012
Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird wrapped up his six-day swing – he was joined by Finance Minister Jim Flaherty – through the Middle East with an interview with the Jerusalem Post newspaper.
It’s an interesting read and touches on matters related to Iran, Syria, and of course Canada-Israel/Canada-Palestine Authority relations .
In the “personal and informal” chat, Baird confesses his love for Israel and admits if he wasn’t Canada’s foreign minister he’d be working away on a Kibbutz somewhere.
He also feels more appreciated in Israel than back home:
“I was told about this beforehand, but it has been a real pleasure because often you will do things and deliver things for your own constituents and not get a lot of appreciation. But holy moly, that certainly is not the case here.” Read more…
Jessica Murphy - January 31st, 2012
On Tuesday, Ottawa announced it was tightening its sanctions against Iran, adding three members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps to the list of people under and asset freeze prohibition of dealings. Five businesses were also added to the list.
This is the third time the feds have tightened sanctions against the regime and comes on the heels of the EU and the US imposing gradual sanctions on Iran’s oil sector.
Jessica Murphy - December 28th, 2011
I sat down with Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird earlier this month for a year-end one-on-one interview on 2011 and the year ahead. I wasn’t able to fit everything of the wide-ranging interview into the print piece published Wednesday, so here’s some of what was interesting but didn’t make the cut.
On the Arab Spring and democracy:
Baird – “I don’t think the spark of the Arab Spring was necessarily a push for Liberal democracy. What it was is a lot of young people, particularly young men, unemployed, no hope, no opportunity. Janice Gross Stein (director of the Munk School of global affairs at the University of Toronto) says that’s the biggest challenge in the region, the tremendous number of young, unemployed men Read more…