Minister Baird Concludes Successful United Kingdom Visit

January 25, 2012 - Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird today wrapped up a busy and successful three-day visit to the British capital that saw him advance Canada’s interests on a number of important files.

Among the highlights was Minister Baird’s meeting with William Hague, the United Kingdom’s Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs. They discussed a number of pressing issues of the day, including Iran, and helped further the implementation of the Canada-U.K. Joint Declaration agreed to by Prime Minister Stephen Harper and David Cameron, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, in Ottawa on September 22, 2011.

“Our common history, our tradition of parliamentary democracy and our shared values bind us together in unique and dynamic ways,” said Minister Baird. “In a period of intense and profound global transformation, Canada and the United Kingdom build upon these shared strengths as a model to the world.”

Minister Baird emerged from a meeting with Secretary Hague to announce Canada’s intent to tighten sanctions against Syria’s Assad regime.

During his visit, Minister Baird delivered remarks before members of the Royal Commonwealth Society, calling on Commonwealth member states to promote and protect the fundamental rights of all people, to defend the vulnerable and to give voice to the voiceless.

“I have said time and again that Canada will no longer ‘go along to get along,’” added Minister Baird. “We will speak out on the issues that matter to Canadians, whether the role and treatment of women around the world; the persecution of persons based on their sexual orientation; or the cowardly and targeted attacks on those who pray in the sanctity of churches, temples, mosques or synagogues. I reiterated Canada’s commitment to establish an Office of Religious Freedom that will attest to the world that Canada attaches great importance to religious freedom.”

Minister Baird now joins Canada’s delegation, led by Prime Minister Stephen Harper, to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

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