On a visit to Brazil yesterday, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper locked himself in one of the foreign minister’s bathrooms, protesting the Brazilian president’s decision that toasts and speeches take place after her lunch with Harper, and not during the lunch, as Harper wanted. The prime minister refused to leave the bathroom until the Brazilian president gave in to his demands, the Washington Post reports.
The account of what the CBC called “bathroom brinkmanship” came from the Brazilian newspaper Folha, quoting unnamed diplomats who witnessed the events. The Canadian embassy in Brasilia has reportedly denied the story, but the lunch did unquestionably begin 15 minutes late.
There was another tiff between the Canadian and Brazilian teams earlier in the day, when Harper demanded that he speak to the media at the Brazilian Presidential Palance, even though foreign dignitaries are generally hosted at the Foreign Affairs Palace. Brazilian President Dilma Rouseff did not give in to this request, as she did to the later one, and even said there would be no joint news conference, as is typical of such high-profile visits.
After meeting with Rouseff, Harper reportedly walked only a few feet away and gave his own press conference to Brazilian reporters.