A former Canadian diplomat, who has once been kidnapped and held hostage by al-Qaeda, Robert Fowler, recently recommended that the government shall stop cuts to the foreign service as it will harm Canada’s international interests. Whereas, in response, Foreign Affairs Minister, John Baird, alleged that he is not interested in Fowler’s recommendation.
Mr. Fowler actively criticized the plan of the Foreign Affairs Department to cut expenses by closing embassies and selling the property, regardless of the terrorist insurgency currently threatening West Africa. The department has plans of cutting almost $170-million from the original $2.6-billion budget within the time period of next two years, which also includes selling several offices which will expectedly liquidate $80-million in revenue. Mr. Fowler, along with another Canadian diplomat Louis Guay, was kidnapped and held hostage for 130 days almost four years ago by the hands of an al-Qaeda linked group in Mali called Islamic Maghreb.
Mr. Fowler mentioned within his recommendation that “I wish we would stop talking in binary fashion about boots on the ground or not boots on the ground. It isn’t that simple.” Whereas Mr. Baird simply replied to his statements claiming that he has no interest to hear any direct advice from Mr. Fowler. Baird stated on Tuesday that “he obviously had a distinguished record as a former diplomat … I can tell you I have one better than that: I have the entire foreign service, diplomatic team at the Department of Foreign Affairs that I count on and rely on.”
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