BY ROB SALERNO - Foreign affairs minister and noted pussy lover John Baird is at the centre of the latest non-issue dust-up from Ottawa, where he ordered staff at the Department of Foreign Affairs to ditch a pair of paintings by revered Quebec artist Alfred Pellan in favour of a photo portrait of Queen Elizabeth II.

Critics say the paintings are masterpieces that speak to the Canadian identity more than a portrait of a foreign monarch.

The paintings were replaced with the photo just ahead of the recent visit to Ottawa from Prince William and his wife Kate (or the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, if you must) and in celebration of Queen Liz's upcoming diamond jubilee next year.

Baird is both a monarchist and a lover of pug-faced British ladies. He's also an obvious appreciator of giggle-worthy double-entendre-laden headline grabbers, so I'm sure he's having a good laugh with this one. Although to be honest, when I saw the headline "John Baird Orders Quebec Paintings Replaced by Queen's Portrait" I assumed the Huffington Post meant an image of himself.


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